According to a study recently published in the journal PNAS, researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, CA, and other experts from various institutions found a new vaccine to work in conjunction with other therapies in treating and preventing the recurrence of skin cancer melanoma.
The co-leader of the research, Prof. Dale Boger and Nobel laureate Bruce Beutler explained that:
“This co-therapy produced a complete response — a curative response — in the treatment of melanoma.”
100% Success in Experiments on Mice
The team of researchers used three different therapies on mice with aggressive melanoma.
All mice received cancer immunotherapy – anti-PD-L1, but they also received different other vaccines.
This is where Prof. Boger and his colleagues split the mice into three groups. A group received the cancer vaccine, the second one got the vaccine and Diprovocim molecule, and the last one received the cancer vaccine and alum – a chemical.
Diprovocim helps to boost therapy by strengthening immune response, and it is also a compound easy to synthesize and modify for many new therapies.
The trials’ results showed that eight mice that got the vaccine and Diprovocim and the anti-PD-L1 therapy had 100% survived after 54 days.
The other two groups had fewer chances of survival, or none: the ones on immunotherapy and the vaccine did not survive and the ones that got immunotherapy, vaccine and alum had a 25% survival rate over 54 days.
Prof. Boger concluded that “it was exciting to see the vaccine working simultaneously with a cancer immunotherapy like anti-PD-L1.”
Vaccinated Against Cancer Recurrence
But the researchers are even happier to see that the vaccine can also protect the body against recurrence, added Prof. Boger:
“Just as a vaccine can train the body to fight off external pathogens, this vaccine trains the immune system to go after the tumor.”
To see if the vaccine was effective in keeping away new tumors, scientists reintroduced melanoma tumors in mice and saw that the body didn’t “take” the cancer:
“The animal is already vaccinated against it,” explains Prof. Boger.
The researchers want to continue experiments with the vaccine and see if the vaccine can be used in other types of cancer therapy.
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere