Researchers at Stanford University recently shared the results of a study that found 97 percent of tumors were cured in mice with the help of a new vaccine, which will soon be tested on humans.
The vaccine is made up of two types of safe “immune-stimulating agents,” that were injected into solid tumors in mice and activated immune systems only within those tumors. The vaccine not only eliminated all 97 percent of cancer in all mice tested but also eliminated secondary malignant growths that result from the body’s original cancer spots.
Dr. Ronald Levy, professor of oncology, said in an interview with Stanford Medicine Magazine, “When we use these two agents together, we see the elimination of tumors all over the body. This approach bypasses the need to identify tumor-specific immune targets and doesn’t require wholesale activation of the immune system or customization of a patient’s immune cells.”
This vaccine would serve as a quick and effective cancer therapy without subjecting patients to chemotherapy.
In the next year, 35 lymphoma patients will be able to receive the safe vaccine to see how it works on humans with lymphocytes, specifically T cells, that need treatment.
“Immune cells like T cells recognize the abnormal proteins often present in cancer cells and infiltrate to attack the tumor,” Stanford Medicine explains. “However, as the tumor grows, it often devises ways to suppress the activity of the T cells. Levy’s method works to reactivate the cancer-specific T cells by injecting microgram amounts of two agents directly into the tumor site.”
This is a huge step in oncology research and development because it does not require patients to have any kind of radiation or chemotherapy, the results are harmless and studies on mice have shown huge success. Scientists are hopeful the vaccine will have the same positive effects on cancer patients with all different types of tumors.
“All of these immunotherapy advances are changing medical practice,” Levy explained in the interview. “Our approach uses a one-time application of very small amounts of two agents to stimulate the immune cells only within the tumor itself. In the mice, we saw amazing, bodywide effects, including the elimination of tumors all over the animal.”