A new cancer vaccine that successfully cured mice will now be advancing to human testing.
In a study published last month in the journal Science Translation Medicine, a group of researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine described how their new cancer vaccine was able to wipe away certain tumors in mice.
The group, which is led by oncology professor Dr. Ronald Levy, successfully cured 97 percent of the mice of tumors. Not only that, the researchers claimed that they were also able to remove all traces of cancer from the rodents using the trial vaccine.
Now, over a month after publishing their study, the team will soon be moving to the next phase of their vaccine trials: human testing.
The development of the new cancer vaccine is reportedly part of the medical community’s growing interest in immunotherapy research. This type of treatment involves curing cancer by using our body’s immune system to target tumors.
“Getting the immune system to fight cancer is one of the most recent developments in cancer,” Dr. Levy said in a statement to SFGate. “People need to know that this is in its early days and we are still looking for safety and looking to make this as good as it can be.”
The treatment uses two agents that work together to boost the immune system. Using this approach, the researchers don’t have to determine tumor-specific immune targets.
Also, it won’t require the immune system to be activated entirely or a patient’s immune cells to be customized.
Instead, the two immune-stimulating agents could be injected directly into a tumor where it will cause the T-cells to identify the cancerous cells and eliminate them. What’s even more fascinating is that the agents also enable the T-cells to locate not just the local tumor, but any distant secondary mass as well.
According to IFLScience, each volunteer patient will first have to go through low-dose radiation therapy to eliminate some cancer cells and weaken what will remain. It will then be followed by two rounds of treatment injection using the new cancer vaccine.
The two drugs used in the treatment were reportedly developed by different pharmaceutical companies. Both of these drugs, according to Dr. Levy, have been proven safe for human use.
Dr. Levy and his colleagues are now hoping to enroll a total of 35 adult patients by the end of the year for the two group studies that they are forming.