A new vaccine that targets a molecule in 90 per cent of all cancers is in the pipeline and is being tested on humans for the first time, News Medical reported.
Results from the safety trial – on patients with blood cancer – found all had greater immunity to the disease after receiving the vaccine. Three of the seven patients who have completed the treatment are now free of the condition.
The vaccine is a therapeutic one and is made to be given to patients to help their bodies fight cancer rather than the majority – known as prophylactic vaccines – that aim to prevent disease in the first place. Researchers believe the jab could also tackle breast, prostate, pancreatic, bowel and ovarian cancers. Even tumors that resist treatment with the best medicines on the market, including the breast cancer âwonder drug' Herceptin, may be susceptible to the vaccine they claim.
Rather than attacking cancer cells, like many drugs, the new treatment harnesses the power of the immune system to fight tumors. Researchers from the drug company Vaxil Biotheraputics and Tel Aviv University have focused on a protein called MUC1 that is made in bigger amounts in cancerous cells than in healthy ones. Not only is there more of it, but a sugar that it is âdecorated' with has a distinctive shape. The vaccine âtrains' the immune system to recognize the rogue sugar and turn its arsenal against the cancer. The misshaped MUC1 sugar is found in 90 per cent of all cancers. There have been âdramatic' results in tests on mice with breast tumors. Now, Vaxil Biotheraputics have announced promising results in a human safety trial.
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