Most cancers Vaccine Cures A number of Sorts - In Mice

Cancer surgery

Cancer surgery

Researchers from Stanford University said that injecting two immune-stimulating agents directly into solid tumors in mice can eliminate all traces of cancer in the animals. The study also founds that by this approach a number of cancers can be cured even those who arise spontaneously.

By injecting the two immune-stimulating agents directly into the tumor, the treatment only boosts immune cells that have learned to fight against that particular cancer.

'When we use these two agents together, we see the elimination of tumors all over the body, ' said lead author Ronald Levy, MD, professor of oncology, whose lab developed Rituximab, a widely-used form of chemotherapy.

This vaccine avoids the need to identify tumor-specific immunity targets and does not require the significant activation of the immune system, or to personalize the immune cells of the patient.

One of the injections is already approved for human use, whilst the other is now in clinical trials for unrelated conditions.

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Levy and colleagues are now launching a clinical trial to test the injection in patients with lymphoma.

Cancers often exist in a odd kind of limbo with regard to the immune system.

The second agent is an antibody that binds to OX40, activating the T cells to fight cancer cells.

The first, a short stretch of DNA, works with nearby immune cells to heighten the expression of an activating receptor on the surface of the T cells. This allows cancers to grow at the original site, and to release cells that allow cancer to spread to other parts of the body.

By injecting it direct into the tumor, it is specifically training T cells which already recognize cancer because they are already inside it.

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The researchers said that in future doctors could inject a tumour before it was removed, so that the body could then get to work fighting unidentified cancer elsewhere in the body. When the researchers injected the two molecules into mouse tumors, they disappeared in less than 10 days. OX40 functions as a throttle for T cells, another type of immune cell crucial for battling tumors, and the anti-OX40 antibodies rev up these cells.

All have shown promise in different ways, but all have their limitations, such as nasty side effects, high costs and/or very involved preparation and treatment times. Those that weren't had their tumors regress following a second treatment, with similar results observed in mice with breast, colon and melanoma tumors.

The Stanford team tested this in situ vaccination approach on laboratory mice with tumours transplanted in two sites on their bodies. If successful, researchers believe the treatment could be used for many tumor types. "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", he said.

Scientists experimenting with an innovative treatment for cancer have now devised a targeted injection that has already successfully eliminated tumors in mice.

Stanford's Department of Medicine also supported the work.

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