Cancer may soon have a universal vaccine thanks to breakthroughs in immunotherapy. “Cancer immunotherapy” is still in it’s infancy and requires more research, but the latest cancer vaccine is geared to trick the body into fighting tumors as if they were a virus.
Researchers from Germany took pieces of cancer’s genetic RNA code, placed them into tiny nanoparticles of fat and injected those into patients bloodstreams which resulted in patient’s immune systems creating “killer” T-cells designed to attack cancer. The treatment generated flu-like side-effects instead of the the extreme sickness caused by chemotherapy. Joya Mia Italiano and Nik Zevic discuss this medical breakthrough on the Lip News.
This new technique as vaccine uses the immune system to fight the disease itself, it is not exactly the same type of vaccine to which we are accustomed. Unlike regular vaccines, this technique is aimed at patients who already have cancer and not to those who do not yet have. The immune system is our main asset against any kind of disease, but in the case of cancer tumor cells are so similar to healthy cells that the system is unable to properly differentiate.
Therefore, the basic idea is to bombard the patient’s immune system with tiny darts containing specific RNA of cancer cells specifically, rare tumor antigens in normal cells. Thus, it attempts to ‘set’ the system to properly identify and attack cancer cells.
Although not easy, because the immune system resists attack the body’s own cells and, in fact, researchers have ‘proven’ that the immune response is only powerful when used antigen is very rare; preliminary studies indicate that has been achieved.