Researchers at the Mayo Clinic inRochester,Minnesotaare working on the development of vaccine for melanoma, the deadly form of skin cancer that each year claims about 9,000 lives. The disease is almost always curable if caught early enough but many people fail to recognize its signs.
The scientists have been working with mouse models and have been able to train their subject’s immune systems to recognize and eradicate skin cancer by utilizing a genetic combination made from human DNA taken from melanoma cells and combining it with a cousin to the deadly rabies virus. This strategy is referred to as cancer immunotherapy and takes a version of the stomatitis virus that has been genetically altered and uses it to deliver a wide spectrum of genes taken from melanoma cancer cells and inserting them directly into cancerous tumors. The early studies have shown that about 60% of the mice with melanoma turmors were cured within about three months and experienced few if any side effects. The scientists have published the findings from their study in the most recent issue of Nature Biotechnology.
The expect to be able to identify a brand new set of genets which encode antigens that are important in helping the body’s immune system to detect and reject cancer. They were able to determine that several different factors are necessary for the mice to be able to reject their cancerous tumors. It is hoped that further study will lead to the development of other similar vaccines for different types of cancer including lung, pancreatic and brain cancers which are among the most aggressive types of cancer found in human beings.
The scientists hope that the vaccinations they develop will be able to successfully treat primary tumors and also give protection against recurring cancer.
The immune system of every person operates on a seek and destroy method which is based on a finely tuned mechanism which identifies viral invaders and kills them. Using a virus such as the rabies…