Scientists: Vaccine Cracks Down Cancer
They crush the defence of cancerous tumors, strengthen the immune system and turn deadly tumors into vaccine factories. Right now, it is teeming with groundbreaking, new cancer vaccines that not only prevent but also break down tumors so that the threat of even the most widespread cancers may soon be a memory only. cancer vaccine breast cancer vaccine cancer drug
Cancer gets fewer lives than before
Since the number of cancer deaths in the EU peaked in 1988, prevention, screening and effective treatment have reduced the risk of dying from cancer by just over 25%. In the last five years alone, the figures have fallen markedly for stomach cancer in men, breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.
· Hygiene knocks out stomach cancer
Better cleanliness and diet strains have for 50 years led to a constant reduction in deaths caused by stomach cancer sparking, mainly due to infections.
· Early detection helps
At the end of the 1980s, general mammography was introduced. This allows doctors to detect tumors early and put in treatment before cancer spreads.
· Prostate cancer treated
In 1990, 3D scans allowed doctors to find prostate tumors with precision and remove them as efficiently and gently as possible.
Trained killer cells pierce cancerous tumours. The traditional HPV vaccine is ineffective if an HPV virus particle has already formed a malignant tumor of the cervix. But a new vaccine uses the virus's own genes to lead the immune system to cancer, and it can double the patient's chance of survival.
Two viruses are combined into a vaccine
The researchers transmit two different genes that cause cancer from an HPV virus to the harmless MVA virus that makes up the vaccine. The genetically modified MVA particles are injected into the skin where they transfer the genes to skin cells that then form the proteins E6 and E7 on the surface.
The immune system learns to recognize cancer proteins
One of the immune system's so-called dendrite cells detects the E6 and E7 proteins on the skin cell. Then the dendrite wanders to the lymph nodes where it further pursues its newfound knowledge of the shape and appearance of HPV proteins into the immune system's T-killer cells.
Killer cells fight cancer cell
If cancer of the uterus is caused by the HPV virus, the cancer cells also have E6 and E7 proteins on the surface. The T cells detect the tumor and secrete two chemical weapons. Perforin pierces the shell of cancer cells, and granzyme breaks down cell contents so that the cancer cell dies.
Cancer stands out. Cancer cells differ from the other cells of the body with proteins or carbohydrates on the surface, known as antigens.
A viral particle ends up at sexual intercourse on the mucosa in the woman’s cervix, and the world’s most widespread venereal disease has been transmitted. Most people never detect it, but for just over half a million women, the HPV infection leads every year to a cervical cancer diagnosis and thus a risk of danger to life.
That has at least been the case until today.
In Australia, researchers believe that vaccination will have reduced the frequency of cervical cancer sufferers to six out of 100,000 women by 2022. The deadly form of cancer will thus become rarer and allow Australia to become the world’s first country to eradicate a type of cancer effectively.
The result is due to an effective vaccination programme of both girls and boys with the vaccine Gardasil that prevents the carcinogenic HPV virus from gaining traction.
However, preventive vaccines are only the beginning. Tailor-made vaccines and genetically modified immune cells are now addressing the fight against existing cancerous tumors. Promising laboratory trials suggest that a cure for cancer may have been found.
The attack is the best defence
Over the past 30 years, the number of cancer deaths has fallen by 25% in the EU, partly due to more effective treatment. However, the traditional methods, such as radiation and chemotherapy, have the disadvantage that they, in their seizure stake against cancer also kill healthy cells.
The method of the cancer vaccine is much gentler because it does not itself address the fight up against the disease, but instead strengthens the immune system. Therefore, this form of treatment is also called immunotherapy.
To develop the vaccine, researchers have for several years mapped the immune system’s fight against cancer cells so that they know exactly how cancer fools the body.
The survey is now translated into injections that either use holes in cancer’s defences or strengthen the natural attacks of the immune cells.
HPV infection, in some cases, causes the cells to divide faster so that they become immortal and develop into cancer cells in the cervix.
The HPV vaccine consists of small protein stumps of HPV, which teaches the immune system to recognize the virus and attack before it has time to gain a foothold and infect the cells of the mucous membranes of the cervix.
In Australia, 79 per cent of girls and 73 per cent of boys receive HPV vaccines at school before turning 15. The high rate of immunized makes HPV infections increasingly rare in the country.
Scientists believe that only one in 100,000 Australian women will receive cervical cancer by 2066. In comparison, only 36% of Europe’s young women are vaccinated according to a 2016 compilation.
In Africa and Asia, it is about as little as one% and even less for young men. Therefore, women and men for many years will still be infected with HPV and develop cancer of the cervix, but also in the anus and throat. Here comes another vaccine into the picture.
Eliminates cervical cancer
However, the many women who have already developed cancer of the cervix are not sentenced to death.
Diane Harper, a physician and professor at the University of Michigan, USA, has helped develop a so-called therapeutic vaccine that cures an existing disease.
Her current results suggest that the vaccine doubles the immune system’s ability to knock out HPV-infected cells.
The vaccine with the tongue sprain name Tipapkinogen Sovacivec teaches t cells, immune soldiers, to recognize cancer cells that have evolved from an HPV infection.
After six months, 24% of 129 vaccinated women had utterly lost their cell changes in the cervix. The same was only valid for 10% of a control group that had not received a vaccine.
Diane Harper followed the women who seemed to have been cured for two years. Seventy-six per cent of them still had no cell changes against just 50% for women who had not received a vaccine.
DNA is the key
Previous vaccines work by teaching the immune system to recognize details, such as a protein on the cancer cell, and attack it when it reencounters the protein.
If a protein has been in an artificial liquid in an ampoule, it changes and loses the similarity to the corresponding protein on a cancer cell.
Some new vaccines, including the new HPV vaccine, therefore go a step further and are based instead on the small piece of DNA in the cancer tumor’s genes that produce the protein.
If all goes according to plan, the therapeutic HPV vaccine will be on the market in five years. First, however, the vaccine should be tested on more men and women to investigate why it can cure some patients while other patients do not react to treatment.
The large Achilles heel of the cancer vaccine is that both cancer cells and patients are different. But a method called T-cell therapy makes vaccines more work as desired.
T cells are specialized immune cells that make up the body’s soldiers, and they can find and kill cancer cells. They can be compared to special forces where everyone is experts in a type of enemy.
In T-cell therapy, doctors take samples of the patient’s blood or lymphatic fluid, grow up the T cells and inject billions of them into the patient as a vaccine. Studies of the method show a more than twice chance of patients with bowel cancer surviving for longer two years.
Recently, researchers have managed to genetically modify the receptors on the surface of the T cells that identify the cancer cells. The modified receptors are called CAR, Chimeric Antigen Receptor.
They can be designed so that the T cells focus on several of the characteristics of the cancer cells, thereby attacking the tumor on several fronts.
This method is called CAR-T cell therapy and is particularly successful in treating cancer types that do not form large tumors. In 2017, Sattva neelapu, a doctor at the University of Texas, tested a CAR-T vaccine of 111 patients with lymphoma who continually returned after traditional treatment.
After six months, 82% of patients had fewer cancer cells, while 54% were completely free of cancer cells. After 15 months, 40% of those vaccinated still had no cancer cells.
A study involving 21 patients with recurrent leukaemia has shown similar results. Here, 73 per cent were completely free of cancer after treatment.
The researchers have high expectations of CAR-T cell therapy, and the first vaccines have been approved for the treatment of lymphoma and leukaemia.
The next step is to make the method work against cancers that form large, compact tumors, and here other types of vaccines have already led the way.
Immune cells learn to recognize cancer
Cancer vaccine uses the revealing effect of antigens by isolating an antigen’s genetic code and cutting it into a harmless virus. When the vaccine with the genes is injected into the body, the soldiers of the immune system, the T cells, learn to recognize the antigen so that they can find and fight the cancer cells.
But often the body has too few of the immune system’s T cells to overcome the entire tumor.
In a blood test from the patient, the researchers identify the targeted T cells, which fight the cancer cells, and multiply them in the laboratory. Billions of combative cells turn into a vaccine that can attack the tumor with greater force.
The genetic modification gives immune cells special abilities
Cancer cells mutate, and the antigens on their surface are also changed. To target the immune system’s attacks on the masked cancer cells, the researchers isolate the targeted T cells from a patient and modify their genes to recognize other antigens. The special force with T cells is grown up and becomes a vaccine that tackles the tumor.
The giant tumor was gone in a few weeks
One of the body’s own weapons against cancer, antibodies, can be effective as a vaccine. It got an American woman experience when she sought help at memorial sloan kettering cancer centre in New York with an approximately four-centimetre tumor of malignant melanoma under one breast.
The doctor Jedd Wolchok gave her a vaccine, and after three weeks, the tumor was gone – replaced with a gaping hole. Cancer cells turn off the immune system by pressing two contacts on the surface of the T cells, which paralyzes them.
The vaccine that the woman received consisted of two antibodies that block the contacts of the T cells and prevent the cancer cells from reaching them.
The two antibodies worked much better together than individually.
The vaccine was then tested in 142 patients with malignant melanoma. After four injections three weeks apart, the tumours were completely absent in 22% of all vaccinated patients while they were severely reduced by 61 per cent.
The outstanding vaccine history took cancer doctors by storm in 2015, and in 2018 the discovery of the antibodies with the Nobel Prize in Medicine was inherited. Since then, other researchers have discovered that the antibodies can also fight lung and kidney cancer.
However, scientists are concerned about the strength of the attack. It can be fatal if a cancerous tumor breaks down too quickly and gives a large hole in the intestinal wall’s sensitive tissue.
Tumours become vaccine factory
Many groundbreaking new methods are showing the potential of vaccines. For example, Joshua Brody, a doctor at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York in April 2019, presented a vaccine that is injected directly into a tumor and turns it into a veritable vaccine factory.
The injection consists of a mixture of substances that, in different ways, activate the body’s immune system. A substance calls out the immune system generals, the dendrite cells, to the tumor.
Another substance activates the dendrites to order the T cells to kill the cancer cells.
The war-like immune army then travels around with the blood in the rest of the body and fights cancer cells without the need for more injections.
The cocktail was tested on eleven patients with advanced lymgland cancer. In eight of them, it managed to slow down or reverse the development of cancer. One patient was completely free of cancerous tumors.
Arsenal takes shape
Several promising cancer vaccines are already on the market, and the development of new CAR T vaccines is in full swing.
Right now, scientists are struggling to select details on the surface of the cancer cells that genetically modified T cells should focus on. They should be unique so that the immune system does not attack the body’s healthy cells.
Cancerous tumors of the brain, breasts, stomach, kidneys and pancreas can hopefully soon be-traded with vaccines that can either protect the body or fight the tumors.
As researchers expand their arsenal, patients gradually get better odds in the fight against cancer.
It is hoped that more cancers will follow in the footsteps of cervical cancer in Australia and thus be completely removed from the list of significant health problems.