Researchers at Stanford University have opened a promising new way for developing a “vaccine” against cancer. Tested on 90 mice, the technique made it possible to eliminate all traces of lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system) in 87 of them. A new injection was realised on the three other mices established an improvement compared to the first result, according to the study published in Science Translational Medicine. As a bonus, the treatment would have a global effect on the body of rodents, eliminating metastases.
Until then, immunotherapy had not been a huge success in the fight against cancer. Stimulation of the immune system is hampered by the fact that cancer cells are not identified as a threat to the body. Accroding to researchers, Two strategies have been used until now. The first is to “identify the targets to be targeted by leukocytes (white blood cells)” by helping them with a “specific treatment”. The second one uses antibodies to “remove the brakes from the immune system, allowing pre-existing T cells to attack cancer cells. ”
Never two without three
The researchers changed tactics, they explain in substance: “We used a non-specific approach called in situ vaccination. ”
“The immunostimulants are directly injected into the tumor, triggering an immune response from local T cells that attack cancer throughout the body,” says the article published in Science.
After a first blazing success on lymphoma, scientists have tried their protocol on mice with breast cancer, colon or skin. “I don’t think there is a limit to the type of tumor that we could potentially treat, as long as it has been infiltrated by the immune system,” said Dr. Ronald Lévy, author of the study.
A clinical trial is underway in humans. Ultimately, this new therapy could allow the disappearance of tumors without surgery and prevent relapses.