Cancer Vaccines and Cure
We all know that cancer is a life-threatening disease and affects a lot of people across the globe. Researchers have been trying to find medicines or other ways to cure cancer. Cancer is a condition in which the person`s cells start growing out of control and eventually remove the normal cells. This causes problems in the normal functioning of the body parts.
In these studies, the patients were given experimental cancer vaccines to treat certain deadly cancer. The patients who were given these vaccines showed signs of improvement. In more than half of the patients suffering from skin cancer melanoma, the tumour completely disappeared. Some of the other patients were given another type of treatment in which the patients were given boosts to improve the individual immune system, hence further improving the ability to fight cancer. In some of the patients, the tumour also disappeared.
After the success of these vaccines, researchers are now looking to develop certain vaccines for other cancers as well. The list even includes the brain cancer glioblastoma, blood cell cancer, ovarian cancer and kidney cancer. It is believed that this kind of approach can even benefit other cancer patients as well.
Usually, the cancer treatment medicines work on the cancerous cells and keep away from the healthy cells. However, in the new vaccine scientists have been trying to develop vaccines which carry molecules which act only on the affected cells. Due to this the immune system recognises these cells as harmful and release the T cells and other defender cells to fight these cells and remove them from the body.
Two different studies have been done to understand how the vaccines attack melanoma. When the skin is exposed to the ultraviolet light, mutations happen in melanomas. This causes abnormal levels of protein in the body which is not seen anywhere else. These are called neoantigens and are useful for vaccines.
Taking into account one of these studies, scientists vaccinated six different patients who had undergone treatment and tumour removal surgery. The scientists looked at the DNA of the cancerous and healthy cells and tried to differentiate and understand a tumour specific mutation and other associated neoantigens. Later on, it was predicted through computer models as to which neoantigen will be the best for the vaccine. These neoantigens were then put together in a vaccine and each patient was given a specific dose.
It was found that the vaccines were working and triggering the immune system for responses. Also, they were safe and no side effects were found in the patients who were administered these vaccines.
The idea was working perfectly and was mobilizing an army of T cells to fight the cancer cells in the body. Some patients had to undergo certain other treatments to further help their condition. In another study, it was noted that some patients reported growth of a tumour when immune boosting vaccines were administered to them, however, most of them remained free from a tumour even after many months.
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