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New Cancer Vaccine Tested 100 Percent Effective In Mice

Sep 12, 2018 08:36 PM EDT
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Scientists have developed a new experimental cancer vaccine that boosts the immune system and boasts a 100 percent success rate in mouse models.

The test was done for melanoma, a type of skin cancer that is particularly dangerous for its tendency to grow and spread.

A Promising New Vaccine

In a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers reveal that adding a molecule called Diprovocim to a vaccine can boost the immune system's response and draw cancer-fighting cells to tumor sites.

The vaccine is designed to be administered in conjunction with other existing therapies.

"This co-therapy produced a complete response — a curative response — in the treatment of melanoma," Dale Boger, PhD, study author and a Scripps research professor, says in a statement.

Mice Testing Completely Effective

Boger, Nobel laureate Bruce Beutler, and the rest of the team then tested the efficacy of the vaccine on laboratory mice.

Three groups of mice with extremely aggressive melanoma were given anti-cancer therapy anti-PD-L1. Then, eight mice received the cancer vaccine, eight received the cancer vaccine along with Diprovocim, and the last eight received the cancer vaccine with another adjuvant called alum.

After 54 days, the vaccine and Diprovocim combination proved to be overwhelmingly effective with a 100 percent survival rate.

Meanwhile, the mice that received the vaccine with alum had a 25 percent survival rate and those that just received the vaccine had a 0 percent rate.

Vaccine-Diprovocim Also Prevents Recurrence

Aside from the incredible survival rate of the mouse models, the vaccine with Diprovocim also protects the body against recurrence of the tumors. The adjuvant was found to stimulate the production of cells known as tumor-infiltrating leukocytes.

According to the scientists, when they attempted to re-establish the tumor in the same mice, they were no longer able to. The subjects appears to be already vaccinated against the cancer.

"Just as a vaccine can train the body to fight off external pathogens, this vaccine trains the immune system to go after the tumor," Boger explains.

Another plus for the new design is how easy it can be administered. Instead of being injected directly on the tumor, the vaccine is expected to work as an intramuscular injection away from the main site. Two doses, given seven days apart, are necessary.

Pre-clinical testing and further studies on its effectivity with other cancer therapies are already being planned by the team.

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