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Study finds cancer 'vaccine' eliminated tumors in mice
08 February 2018, 12:37 | Randall Craig
Ronald Levy and Idit Sagiv Barfi
In lab tests, 87 of 90 mice were cured of lymphoma tumors.
Dr Ronald Levy, a senior author of the study told the Stanford Medicine News Centre that when the two agents were used together, they saw the elimination of tumours all over the body.
It's also unlikely to cause adverse side effects often seen with other immune stimulation, according to researchers. The cancer recurred in three of the mice, but a second round of injections removed their tumors, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
To eliminate the tumors, researchers used an immunotherapy approach by activating T cells in cancerous tumors.
Trials using human guinea pigs are taking part to test the vaccine that could cure the disease - even after it enters the bloodstream.
One is already approved for use in humans and the other has been tested on patients in several unrelated clinical trials. The role of T cells in the human body is to act like soldiers, searching out to destroy harmful invaders, like cancer.
"This approach bypasses the need to identify tumour-specific targets and doesn't require wholesale activation of the immune system or customisation of a patient's immune cells".
The new experiment for cancer treatment targeting cancer cells in laboratory mice involved a combination of two immune boosters that were directly injected into solid mouse tumours. Once these cells are created, they are "prescreened" to only recognize cancer-specific proteins.
"I don't think there's a limit to the type of tumour we could potentially treat, as long as it has been infiltrated by the immune system", Levy said.
Also, the approach works for many different types of cancers, including those that arise spontaneously.
Researchers injected tiny amounts of two immune-stimulating agents into the mice's tumors, leading to the "complete obliteration" of cancerous cells.
Levy and his colleagues believe that applying small amounts of the agents could serve as a relatively cheap cancer therapy, that wouldn't have as many side-effects as some cancer therapies, because the approach is so targeted.
For the trial, Levy plans to recruit 15 patients with low-grade cancers.
Levy is hopeful this treatment will be successful on multiple types of tumors.
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