WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A new experiment from Stanford University that can treat cancer using immune-stimulators to target tumors in mice had remarkable results.
- The cancer vaccine was injected directly into mouse tumors by combining two immune boosters.
- Stanford’s research team said the cancer ‘vaccine’ eradicated all traces of cancer from the mouse’s whole body including malignant growths that were untreated before.
A cancer vaccine that can eliminate all traces of cancer in mice was developed by a team of researchers at Stanford University. The research said that the body’s T cells attack the tumor when an immune system discovers cancer cells in the body. The tumor however, creates ways to defeat the immune cells and sustains growth.
Dr. Ronald Levy, senior author of the study, told the Stanford Medicine News Center: “When we use these two agents together, we see the elimination of tumors all over the body. 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.”
The study was published Jan. 31 in the journal Science Translational Medicine. One agent has already been approved for use in humans. The other agent is currently being tested in a lymphoma treatment trial.
Although the cancer vaccine eliminated the targeted tumors in the mouse, the T cells did not attack the colon cancer tumor which was also present in the animal.
“This is a very targeted approach,” Levy explained. “Only the tumor that shares the protein targets displayed by the treated site is affected. We’re attacking specific targets without having to identify exactly what proteins the T cells are recognizing.”
The experiment was repeated in 90 other mice resulting to 87 cancer-free animals. The cancer reappeared in three mice, but the tumors relapsed after another injection of the cancer vaccine. It was able to eliminate breast, colon and melanoma tumors in mice.
“I don’t think there’s a limit to the type of tumor we could potentially treat as long as it has been infiltrated by the immune system,” Levy said.
This new method is simpler than other existing cancer treatments. Other methods are not only expensive but also involve prolonged treatment processes and have a long list of side effects.
“All of these immunotherapy advances are changing medical practice,” Dr. Levy said. “Our approach uses a one-time application of very small amounts of two agents to stimulate the immune cells only within the tumor itself. In the mice, we saw amazing, body-wide effects, including the elimination of tumors all over the animal.”
Source: NY Daily News