No disease is more deadly and well-known than cancer. In the United States alone, it’s estimated to kill almost 600,000 people this year. But there may be a new hope on the horizon, as scientists believe they may have finally solved the mystery behind a cancer cure.
Scientists at Guy’s Hospital in London, U.K. are currently beginning trials for an unnamed cancer vaccine. 30 patients are expected to take part in the two-year testing phase hoping for a groundbreaking advancement in the treatment of the disease.
Cancer negates the white blood cells, such as T-cells, that are normally used to fight off disease and suppresses the immune system when it reaches an advanced stage. This is often caused by tumor cells damaging the immune cells or a decrease of white blood cells in bone marrow.
The vaccine incorporates using the body’s own immune system to help destroy and fight back against cancerous cells. By injecting small amounts of antigens, substances that can help spark an immune system response to create antibodies; the researchers hope to be able to counteract the cancers ability to avoid the immune system protection.
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Looking to the Future
The antibodies injected from the vaccine can not only destroy tumorous cells that are present, but can also be retained for a period of time afterwards to stop any future cases. Small cancer enzyme fragments known as human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) cause the tumor to grow and cells to divide continuously.
These have been put inside the vaccine to hopefully stimulate antibodies that specifically target this enzyme and eliminate it. Low doses of chemotherapy have also been imbued into the vaccine to help speed up the process.
Scientists believe this could be effective for all solid tumors and are now testing its safety on terminal patients who have volunteered.
Although there’s still much to be studied and any results are two years away, it’s exciting to look forward to the fact we may be closer to a cancer-free world than we thought!
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