Within six years a vaccine that will cure 90% of cancers using the body’s natural defence system could be available. Experts say the treatment could cure patients in two doses. There is hope that this treatment could provide a universal cancer injection, a panacea for all sorts of cancers including breast and prostate cancer. The vaccine ImMucin triggers the immune system to seek out and destroy tumours, the Daily Express reported.
Cancer cells flourish because the patient’s body doesn’t treat them like a threat and the immune system doesn’t kick into action. The new vaccine uses a molecule called MUC1, found in 90% of cancers, to train the immune system to recognise the rogue cells.
Scientists have found that by injecting the right level of MUC1 it can also trigger the body to fight them. In a trial at the Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem, 10 patients suffering from blood cancer were injected with ImMucin. After two to four courses of treatment, seven saw their immune system strengthened and three were left free of the disease.The vaccine will be given to cancer patients though and not used as a prevention measure. It’s believed it will be particularly effective against tumours that are detected early and will also help prevent the disease from returning or spreading. Trials will now be conducted on more patients. They are being run by drug company Vaxil Biotherapeutics and scientists at Tel Aviv University.
A company spokesman said the first trial “generated a robust and specific immune response in all patients which was observed after only two to four doses of the vaccine out of a maximum of 12 doses”.
Cancer charities however aren’t too optimistic. Dr Kat Arney, of Cancer Research UK, said, “There are several groups around the world investigating treatments that target MUC1 as it’s a very interesting target involved in several types of cancer. “These are very early results that are yet to be fully published, so there’s a lot more work to be done to prove that this particular vaccine is safe and effective,” Dr Arney added.