It won’t be long before human trials are done that will test the safety and efficacy of personalized vaccines to fight ovarian cancer. A research team from the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Connecticut published findings in the Journal of Experimental Medicine recently.
The teams says that the immune system can read epitopes, which are sequences of proteins on the outside of cells, and it does this to determine if a cell is good or bad. Cancer cells also have epitopes, according to Medical News Today, but the immune system has a hard time determining the difference between cancer cells and healthy cells.
“We want to break the immune system’s ignorance,” Dr. Srivastava, co-principal investigator of the study about an potential ovarian cancer vaccine, said. The team compared the small differences in the epitopes of cancer cells, then developed a personalized vaccine using the differing cancer cell epitopes in the mice. This vaccine proved effective.
The team plans to test this personalized vaccine in ovarian cancer patients as soon as possible. It must first be approved by the Food and Drug Administration though. Dr. Angela Kueck, a gynecological cancer doctor at the University of Connecticut, will analyze the DNA of tumors from about 15 to 20 women who have ovarian cancer. The information will be used to create a personalized vaccine against ovarian cancer that will be specific to each woman.
The team chose ovarian cancer because it usually responds well to treatment but often rebounds a year or two later. It will be the perfect cancer for testing the effectiveness of the new cancer vaccines.
Last month, Inquisitr reported that researchers from the University of Leicester demonstrated that frankincense, plant resin that is extracted from the Boswellia sacra tree which grows in Africa and the Arabian peninsula, may actually have a promising future treating ovarian cancer. Those researchers believe it could one day prove more powerful than chemotherapy in treating late-stage ovarian cancer. Before that, a study published in Cancer Causes Control discussed epidemiologic studies that found that getting childhood mumps might protect against ovarian cancer. Those researchers were also able to determine a possible explanation and indicated that widespread vaccination against mumps might have increased the number of ovarian cancer cases.
“Prior to vaccination, mumps was generally a mild illness but could have serious sequelae including orchitis and sterility, meningitis and deafness, and pancreatitis. Nevertheless, our study suggests there could also have been unanticipated long-term anticancer benefits of a mumps infection, such as we have described in this paper.”
With FDA approval, researchers will soon learn if a personalized vaccine might be able to fight against the increasing number of ovarian cancer cases.
[Photo via UCONN]