LiveScience reports that a promising new cancer vaccine cured 97 percent of tumors in mice. The successful trial of the vaccine on mice paves the way for trials on human subjects. Researchers from Stanford University will test the therapy on 35 people with lymphoma by the end of the year, according to the report. According to SFGate, the trial is part of a research into immunotherapy, a type of treatment that fights cancer by using the body’s immune system to attack tumors.
The treatment is not a true vaccine that creates lasting immunity, but it features a vaccine-like injection carrying two immune stimulators that activate the immune system’s T cells to destroy tumors in the body. Immunotherapy is more promising because chemotherapy does not cure cancer and comes with many side effects.
Dr. Ronald Levy, a Stanford University professor said, the treatment does not work on all types of cancer because each type of cancer has a different set of rules regarding how it can be affected by the immune system. For the human trials, 35 subjects with low-grade lymphoma will be selected and two trials will be carried out at the end of the year.
Dr. Alice Police, the regional director of breast surgery at Northwell Health Cancer Institute in Westchester, New York is excited about the news of human trials, but she cautioned that results in animal studies don’t always translate to people.
In a study published Jan. 31 in the journal Science Translational Medicine, scientists gave the treatment to mice that were genetically engineered to develop breast cancer in all 10 of their mammary pads. The drug was injected into the first tumor that appeared in the mice and the researchers found that the treatment also prevented the occurrence of future tumors in many cases.
The growth of tumors suppresses the activity of T-Cells, so the new therapy works by reactivating these T-cells, according to LiveScience. The vaccine is injected directly into the tumor, the T-cells present in the tumor are then reanimated. The new trial is a phase I study, which means it will test only the safety of the treatment and is not designed to determine the effectiveness of the therapy, LiveScience reports.