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Will skin cancer no longer pose a threat in the future?
Researchers have now developed a new cancer vaccine that, in combination with another drug, has been able to eliminate melanoma in mice with a 100 percent success rate. The therapy could possibly be used alongside other therapies to treat particularly aggressive tumors.
In their current study, scientists from the University of Texas and the Scripps Research Institute found that a newly developed vaccine in combination with another drug can completely kill skin cancer in mice. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences".
Vaccine can also prevent cancer from coming back
The research team added a molecule called diprovocim to a vaccine. Diprovocim is a so-called adjuvant, a substance that increases the body's immune response. The vaccine gets the immune system ready to fight cancer cells and ready to fight cancer if it ever comes back. This is particularly important because it could prevent cancer from coming back.
Vaccine enables complete healing of melanoma
This new form of therapy resulted in a complete healing response in the treatment of melanoma, study author Professor Dale Boger from the Scripps Research Institute explains in a press release. Just as a vaccine can train the body to ward off external pathogens, this new vaccine trains the immune system to look for a tumor.
How was the investigation carried out?
The current study included a total of 24 mice with a particularly aggressive form of melanoma, all of which were treated with anti-cancer therapy called Anti-PD-L1. The animals were divided into three groups of equal size. One group received the cancer vaccine with diprovocim, one group received the vaccine with an alternative adjuvant called alum, and the remaining group received only the vaccine.
The survival rate of treated mice was 100 percent
The scientists do not have to administer the vaccine directly into the tumor. The mice were first given two intramuscular injections seven days apart. After 54 days, the researchers found a survival rate of 100 percent in the animals that received both the vaccine and the diprovocime. When the animals received the vaccine and alum, the survival rate was 25 percent. However, if the mice were only treated with the vaccine alone, the survival rate was 0 percent, say the doctors.
Melanomas could not recur
Diprovocim's strength is based on its interaction with the immune system. In the most recent study, the use of the molecule as an adjuvant in the vaccine cocktail stimulated the formation of tumor-infiltrating white blood cells. The immune system was helped to fight the tumor right from the start. Attempts to restore melanoma in the first group were unsuccessful, the researchers explain. Apparently the animal is vaccinated against a new illness, so to speak.
More research is needed
The team is now developing further preclinical tests for this vaccine and trying to find out how it works in combination with other cancer drugs. If the further tests are successful, human trials can begin soon, the scientists explain. (as)