Connect with us


Scientists develop vaccine that kills and prevents cancer



Scientists in the US are developing a new way to turn cancer cells into potent, anti-cancer agents.

The new new cell therapy approach eliminates established tumours and induces long-term immunity, training the immune system so that it can prevent cancer from recurring.

The researchers tested their dual-action, cancer-killing vaccine in an advanced mouse model of the deadly brain cancer glioblastoma, with promising results.

Corresponding author Khalid Shah, MS, PhD, of the Brigham and faculty at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI), said:

“Our team has pursued a simple idea: to take cancer cells and transform them into cancer killers and vaccines.

“Using gene engineering, we are repurposing cancer cells to develop a therapeutic that kills tumour cells and stimulates the immune system to both destroy primary tumours and prevent cancer.”

In their distinct approach to cancer vaccines, the team repurposes living tumour cells, which will travel long distances across the brain to return to the site of their fellow tumour cells.

This unique property enabled Shah’s team to engineer living tumour cells using the gene editing tool CRISPR-Cas9, repurposing them to release tumour cell killing agent.

In addition, the engineered tumour cells were designed to express factors that would make them easy for the immune system to spot, tag and remember, priming the immune system for a long-term anti-tumour response.

The team tested their repurposed cells in different strains of mice, including one with bone marrow, liver and thymus cells derived from humans, mimicking the human immune microenvironment.

The researchers also built a two-layered safety switch into the cancer cell, which, when activated, eradicates cells if needed.

This dual-action cell therapy was safe, applicable, and efficacious in these models, showing promise as a potential therapy.

While further testing and development is needed, the researchers specifically chose this model and used human cells to smooth the path of translating their findings for patient settings.

Shah said:

“Throughout all of the work that we do in the Center, even when it is highly technical, we never lose sight of the patient.

“Our goal is to take an innovative but translatable approach so that we can develop a therapeutic, cancer-killing vaccine that ultimately will have a lasting impact in medicine.”

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Trending stories