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New vaccine could help body defend against cancer

Gran ignored NHS checks only to be diagnosed with cancer

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Researchers from the United States have developed a cancer vaccine which can get around the defences of cancerous tumours.

The vaccine works by preventing the cancer cell from using a cancer-specific protein.

As a result, this allows the occurrence of a coordinated attack by the immune system by both the body’s T-cells and its natural killer cells.

Publishing their data in the journal Nature, the researchers said their vaccine design “enables protective immunity even against tumours with common escape mutations”.

They added the vaccine was “efficacious in a clinically important setting: immunisation following surgical removal of primary, highly metastatic tumours”.

What this means is the vaccine is effective after the removal of a tumour, potentially reducing the risk of a tumour regrowing.

However, while the trial is promising, there is a caveat.

The tests were only conducted on mice and monkeys.

While this could sound disappointing, it is all part of the pathway towards human trials, the next step for the vaccine.

Dr Kesari of the Providence St Johns’ Health Centre, said of the results: “Since this is a broad target to general cancer stress signal, the vaccine may have broad applicability to many cancers and thus could be made to be an off-the-shelf approach

“[Thus it] will need to be translated in the future in humans by conducting phase I clinical trials in the future to prove out its safety and efficacy.”

Although patients shouldn’t expect to see this vaccine on the NHS in the next few months, should it pass human trials it could be seen in the very near future.

Meanwhile, it isn’t just in the United States where cancer breakthroughs are being made.

A team of European researchers have successfully developed a revolutionary cancer treatment using light therapy to target cancer cells.

The team, made up of personnel from the UK, Poland, and Sweden, came together to design the new form of photoimmunotherapy.

Such is importance of their breakthrough, health experts believe it could become the world’s fifth most used cancer treatment.

Led by the Institute of Cancer Research in London, the trials also showed the light therapy triggered an immune response which could prime the immune system for a future response to cancer.

Study leader, Dr Gabriela Kramer-Marek, said: “Brain cancers like glioblastoma can be hard to treat and, sadly, there are too few treatment options for patients.

“Surgery is challenging due to the location of the tumours, and so new ways to see tumour cells to be removed during surgery, and to treat residual cancer cells that remain afterwards, could be of great benefit.”

Professor Axel Behrens added: “This research demonstrates a novel approach to identifying and treating glioblastoma cells in the brain using light to turn an immunosuppressive environment into an immune-vulnerable one, and which has exciting potential as a therapy against this aggressive type of brain tumour.”

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  • Posted on June 18, 2022