The cure for cancer is often compared to the search for the Holy Grail. Doctors and researchers are quick to point out that the variety of cancers that occur in humans means there won’t likely be one treatment that can cure all of them. New developments, though, may prove otherwise. A new vaccine is showing genuine promise.
The new treatment activates T cells in tumors. Laboratory tests have shown the treatment to be effective in mice, where it eliminates 97% of known tumors. The tests are being conducted at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
“When researchers injected tiny amounts of two immune-stimulating agents into physical tumors,” The Daily Wire writes, “all traces of cancer, ‘including distant, untreated metastases,’ were totally eliminated in 87 of the 90 mice tested.”
“Our approach uses a one-time application of very small amounts of two agents to stimulate the immune cells only within the tumor itself. In the mice, we saw amazing, bodywide effects, including the elimination of tumors all over the animal,” said Ronald Levy, MD, professor of oncology and senior author of the study.
“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 researchers are hoping to find a treatment that eliminates cancer, but one that doesn’t have harmful side effects of current chemotherapy treatments.
And the Stanford researchers aren’t alone in their work. Some elements that they’re testing are currently being tested on human patients, and lymphoma patients are about to begin a clinical trial.
“The current clinical trial is expected to recruit about 15 patients with low-grade lymphoma,” a press release states. “If successful, Levy believes the treatment could be useful for many tumor types. He envisions a future in which clinicians inject the two agents into solid tumors in humans prior to surgical removal of the cancer as a way to prevent recurrence due to unidentified metastases or lingering cancer cells, or even to head off the development of future tumors that arise due to genetic mutations like BRCA1 and 2.”
“I don’t think there’s a limit to the type of tumor we could potentially treat, as long as it has been infiltrated by the immune system,” Levy added optimistically.