A vaccine-like cure for cancer successfully removes 97 percent of tumors in mice, although its translation to human pathology still has a long way to go.
Researchers from Stanford University tested a promising cure for cancer in mice by stimulating the immune system to attack cancer cells. The mice were found to have lymphoma, breast, and colon cancer, and these cancer cells have eventually spread throughout their bodies.
Eighty-seven out of 90 mice have been cured of their cancers, yielding a 97 percent success rate.
Despite its promising results, the researchers said that it cannot be compared to the lasting effect of vaccines that causes immunity against certain diseases. However, targeting immune system in the process called immunotherapy has been an effective alternative to chemotherapy and radiation among cancer patients.
Dr. Alice Police, regional director of breast surgery at Northwell Health Cancer Institute in Westchester, New York, said that these findings mark an "exciting" development in the field of cancer research. However, she emphasized that animal results may not necessarily yield the same in humans.
She added that cancer in mice has long been treated for years now, which is why it is imperative that the next step would be human clinical trials.
Dr. Ronald Levy, a professor at Stanford University, said that 35 patients diagnosed with lymphoma were selected to participate in two trials to be conducted later this year.
Researchers also noted that since the impending human trials will involve only lymphoma patients, its results will not necessarily apply to breast or colon cancer patients.
Immunotherapy Versus Chemotherapy, CAR-T
The American Society of Clinical Oncology has recommended the development of a cancer vaccine that will prevent cancer cells from reoccurring and at the same time, destroy all malignant cells in the body.
This new treatment, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, is a type of immunotherapy. By injecting the cure to the body, two special agents will begin reactivating the T cells to recognize abnormal cancer cells. Once the T cells recognized unhealthy cells, it will begin to attack and infiltrate cancer cells until none of it is left.
"Getting the immune system to fight cancer is one of the most recent developments in cancer. People need to know that this is in its early days and we are still looking for safety and looking to make this as good as it can be," Levy said.
Dr. Michelle Hermiston, director of pediatric immunotherapy program at UCSF, said that immunotherapy is currently the most preferred method of treating cancer compared to other invasive therapies like chemotherapy. Immunotherapy is also preferred than CAR-T, which requires millions of dollars and intensive labor.