For treating a wide range of cancers like melanoma, as well as auto-immune conditions and infectious diseases, an implantable cancer vaccine is being tested by Harvard’s Wyss Institute is a completely new set of immunotherapy that holds a big promise to heal or treat a wide range of cancer.
This vaccine of Harvard is approaching the end of clinical testing while promising to be available 4 or 5 years earlier than Stanford’s vaccine with a cure rate of 97%. This aspirin sized medicine is made up of polymer scaffold that contains growth factors and some tissue samples from patient’s tumor which helps in training a patient’s immune system to search for cancer cells and destroy them.
Unlike the preventative cancer vaccines which a nurse injects for preventing the disease before the patient gets sick. The Wyss’s new vaccine will help in treating tumors after they have already occurred.
Testing the New Cancer Vaccine
According to the reports from the Harvard’s Wyss Institute, their cancer vaccine has eliminated 50 percent of the tumors in tests on mice. During the tests, half of the mice that were treated with two doses of the vaccine enjoyed a complete tumor regression. However, if any of these were left untreated then they would have died from melanoma within about 25 days.
The Wyss’s team is now working in collaboration with the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI); testing the cancer vaccine in phase I clinical trial on a limited number of patients.
The novel cancer vaccine was developed and advanced by a team was led by a Professor of Bioengineering at Harvard and also the lead of the Immuno-Materials initiative at Harvard’s Wyss Institute- David Mooney.
Mooney states that-
“We have demonstrated that these biomaterials can be easily delivered to patients, provide sustained and local release of immune-modulating factors, and bypass the need for modification of cells outside the body. This concept has led to a very promising platform for cancer immunotherapy.”
Fast yet Cheap Cancer Vaccine
It is very obvious that getting an immune system to fight cancer is a new and promising method for cancer treatment.
The current crop of cancer immunotherapies works by either stimulating the immune system into attacking a tumor or just by counteracting the signals that cancer cells use to suppress the immune response.
Though treating cancer with vaccines is not a new concept and the researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute have so far improved on a tactic that has been tried before. Mooney’s latest treatment stimulates T-cells, which helps in kickstarting the immune system when there is a threat.
How does the Cancer Vaccine Work?
Our immune system is made in a way to defend us from enemies- coming from both the outside diseases like viruses and more. Also, from the inside like cancer. However, our immune system mechanisms in the same way for fighting with both of the threats. Furthermore, the immune system remains not so effective at the end due to an immune system that declines to fight as we age.
Initially, the cancer cells grow as the tumors arise from a patient’s cells which a human body’s immune system fails to recognize as a threat. Here, the Wyss cancer vaccine helps in reprogramming the immune system so that it can attack these tumors like these. The new cancer vaccine is a spongy porous matrix which technicians implant directly under the skin near a lymph node.
As soon as it is implanted, the cancer vaccine recruits a patient’s immune system while in the body and trains them to seek out and destroy cancer through the patient.
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