Saturday, July 2, 2011

Vaccine cures prostate cancer in rodents

Scientists from U.S. and UK were able to treat established prostate tumors in mice with a vaccine for humans without side effects.

The researchers created a new approach to treatment that involves stimulating the immune system to rid itself of the tumors without the aid of chemotherapy or radiation.

As published in the journal Nature Medicine, the new vaccine was able to cure 80% of treated mice without causing apparent side effects caused by current treatments.

This same approach, they believe, can also be used as a treatment for other forms of cancer and have begun testing for melanoma.

Cancer vaccines are not new, but unlike the traditional acting to protect against infection, cancer work by causing the immune system to attack tumors that are already in the body.

Specifically, these vaccines are directed to a marker located on the surface of cancer cells, called antigens. Alan Melcher, University of Leeds, England, one of the researchers involved in the study, said "the biggest challenge in immunology is to develop antigens that can combat the tumor without damaging other parts."

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