Cancer vaccine eliminates tumors in mice

T-cells attacking cancer cell illustration of microscopic

T-cells attacking cancer cell illustration of microscopic

Researchers and scientists say a new cancer "vaccine" has eliminated "all traces of cancer" after being injected in laboratory mice.

The cancer vaccine, which was tested on laboratory mice injected with various forms of cancer throughout their bodies, is now in a clinical trial for patients receiving treatment for lymphoma. One agent is now already approved for use in humans; the other has been tested for human use in several unrelated clinical trials.

"In the mice, we saw wonderful, bodywide effects, including the elimination of tumors all over the animal", he said.

Cancerous tumors naturally suppress their T-cells, preventing them from attacking the tumors. The breakthrough treatment is also unlikely to cause the adverse side effects often seen with bodywide immune stimulation, according to researchers.

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The researchers said they believe the local application of very small amounts of vaccine could serve as a rapid and relatively cheap cancer therapy that is unlikely to cause the adverse side effects often seen with common treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. "This approach bypasses the need to identify tumor-specific immune targets and doesn't require wholesale activation of the immune system or customization of a patient's immune cells".

In Levy's experiment, the cancer-fighting T cells from the immune system were rejuvenated when a microgram (one-millionth of a gram) amount of the two immune boosters was injected into a mouse's lymphoma tumor.

The most recent study shows that the process works for many different types of cancer including those that arise spontaneously by using two immune-stimulating agents. The other agent is an antibody that binds with the T-cell receptors to "lead the charge against the cancer cells". The three subjects that relapsed were given a second shot of the new treatment which cleared up the tumors again. A clinical trial was launched in January to test the treatment in patients with lymphoma.

Levy and his team add that the new treatment could create a fast and cheap way to eliminate cancer.

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