14 May 2015
A team of researchers have made significant advances towards personalised immunotherapy strategies for treating cancer.
Led by cancer researcher Professor Ugur Sahin, they managed to identify the relevant genetic changes or mutations associated with various types of cancer and determined their individual blueprints.
It is hoped that this would make it possible for researchers to produce customised cancer vaccines, which have already proven effective in animal models.
Researchers at the biopharmaceutical research institute Translational Oncology (TRON) at the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, the biotech company BioNTech AG, the Mainz University Medical Center, and the Californian La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology.
Publishing their results in the journal Nature, the team hope it could be a significant step towards manipulating the body's own immune system to fight cancer.
"We now know that our immune system itself is able to recognise cancer and take steps to fight it," explained Professor Sahin.
However, it is not usually capable of controlling a tumour, meaning that strategies now focus on stimulating the immune system in a way that is capable of restricting tumour growth and destroys malignant cells.
Posted by Phillip Briggs
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