Personalised cancer vaccines 'prove successful'

28 November 2014

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis have brought personalised cancer vaccines one step closer to reality.

Work has been ongoing to develop personalised vaccines aimed at triggering the immune system to destroy malignant cells, which will help the immune system to identify cancer cells.

A new clinical trial, led by Dr Beatriz Carreno and Gerald Lunette at Siteman Cancer Center and published in the journal Nature, is looking at using cancer vaccines in patients with metastatic melanoma.

Work is also ongoing to develop vaccines for lung, heart, brain, head, breast and neck tumours, with further trials expected to take place over the next year or two.

The new study tested investigational vaccines within computer simulations, animal models and cell cultures. It was found that the vaccines allowed the immune system to destroy or drive into remission a large number of the tumours. For example, almost 90 per cent of mice with advanced muscle cancer were cured by the vaccines.

Personalised vaccines are developed by taking DNA from a patient's healthy and tumour tissue, which is then sequenced to identify the mutant genes in tumour cells. Proteins are then analysed to see which are most likely to be recognised by the immune system.

Posted by Edward Bartel


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