A new study by the Stanford University School of Medicine has announced some good news when it comes to cancer and its possible treatments in the foreseeable future.
The research team, led by Dr. Ronald Levy and Idit Sagiv-Barfi, tested out a vaccine on 90 different mice where an injection of two immune-stimulating agents had been introduced directly into a cancerous tumor.
The result was even better than expected, as all traces of cancer were effectively eliminated in 87 of the test subjects, including “distant, untreated metastases,” according to The Daily Wire.
“Our approach uses a one-time application of very small amounts of two agents to stimulate the immune cells only within the tumor itself,” said Levy. “In the mice, we saw amazing, bodywide effects, including the elimination of tumors all over the animal.”
The study was published in Science Translational Medicine in late January, with researchers remaining hopeful that it has a chance at being used in future cancer therapy for patients — effectively eliminating the need for chemotherapy, which causes destructive side effects.
“When we use these two agents together, we see the elimination of tumors all over the body,” Levy said. “This approach bypasses the need to identify tumor-specific immune targets and doesn’t require wholesale activation of the immune system or customization of a patient’s immune cells.”
The destination of using it as a form of cancer treatment may be far closer than originally thought, as one of the agents is already approved for use in people and the other has been routinely tested in a number of unrelated clinical trials.
And the good news doesn’t stop there, as lymphoma patients are already being recruited for a clinical trial with the vaccine.
“The current clinical trial is expected to recruit about 15 patients with low-grade lymphoma,” a news release stated. “If successful, Levy believes the treatment could be useful for many tumor types.”
Yet, cancer itself exists in a type of limbo with regard to the host’s immune system, as immune cells — such as T cells — recognize the cancers abnormal proteins and begin attacking the tumor. As it grows, however, it brings with it ways to suppress the T cells activity.
The method developed by Levy and his team works to reactivate those cancer-specific T cells through the injection of the two agents directly into the site of the tumor, activating only the T cells that have infiltrated the area.
“I don’t think there’s a limit to the type of tumor we could potentially treat,” said Levy, who remains optimistic about the future of cancer therapy. “As long as it has been infiltrated by the immune system.”
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