An experimental new cancer vaccine has been found to eliminate all traces of cancer in animal studies. It also wiped out distant and untreated metastases.
Study researcher Ronald Levy, from Stanford University School of Medicine, and colleagues likewise found that the treatment, which involves injecting two immune stimulating agents into solid tumors, works for many different types of cancer including those that develop spontaneously.
"Our approach uses a one-time application of very small amounts of two agents to stimulate the immune cells only within the tumor itself," Levy said. "In the mice, we saw amazing, bodywide effects, including the elimination of tumors all over the animal.
Clinical Trials To Test Treatment In Patients With Lymphoma
Following the promising outcome of the treatment in mice, a clinical trial was launched last month to test the efficacy of the treatment in human patients with low-grade lymphoma, a type of cancer that starts in infection-fighting cells of the immune system known as lymphocytes. About 15 patients are expected to join the human trial.
If successful, the researchers believe that the treatment could be useful for treating many types of tumor. Levy looks forward to a future where doctors administer the two agents into the solid tumors in patients before surgically removing cancer to prevent metastases or cancer recurrence.
Cancer Recurrence And Metastasis
Cancer recurrence happens when cancer returns after treatment. It may happen weeks, months, or many years after the original cancer was treated. Cancer may recur because small areas of cancer cells remained in the body after treatment. These cancer cells may multiply and grow large enough over time to cause symptoms. Metastasis occurs when cancer spreads to a different part of the body.
In the study involving mice, researchers found that treating the first tumor tend to prevent the occurrence of future tumors. Treatment of one tumor site also caused regression of both the treated tumor and a second untreated tumor.
"One tumor is [then] injected with the test agents, and the resulting immune response is detected by the regression of the distant, untreated tumor," researchers wrote in their study published on Jan. 31 in Science Translational Medicine. "Remarkably, this combination of a TLR ligand and an anti-OX40 antibody can cure multiple types of cancer and prevent spontaneous genetically driven cancers."