Wednesday, April 11, 2012
A Cancer Vaccine Has Been Developed That Can Train Bodies To Seek Out And Destroy Tumour Cells
A vaccine that can train cancer patients’ own bodies to seek out and destroy tumour cells has been developed by scientists.
The therapy, which targets a molecule found in 90 per cent of all cancers, could provide a universal injection that allows patients’ immune systems to fight off common cancers including breast and prostate cancer. Preliminary results from early clinical trials have shown the vaccine can trigger an immune response in patients and reduce levels of disease. The scientists behind the vaccine now hope to conduct larger trials in patients to prove it can be effective against a range of different cancers. They believe it could be used to combat small tumours if they are detected early enough or to help prevent the return and spread of disease in patients who have undergone other forms of treatment such as surgery.
Cancer cells usually evade patient’s immune systems because they are not recognised as being a threat. While the immune system usually attacks foreign cells such as bacteria, tumours are formed of the patient’s own cells that have malfunctioned.
Scientists have, however, found that a molecule called MUC1, which is found in high amounts on the surface of cancer cells, can be used to help the immune system detect tumours.