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Cancer vaccine for 70 per cent of cancers could be on the market by 2020

Published on 13/12/2011

A vaccine that could prevent 70 per cent of lethal cancers has been developed by scientists, with hope that it could be on the market by 2020.

Researchers from the University of Georgia and the Mayo Clinic in the United States have successfully tested a vaccine on mice that can tackle even super-resistant tumours.

A new vaccine could prevent and treat 70 per cent of all lethal cancers

The new treatment uses the power of the immune system rather than attacking cancer cells itself. Previously, the search for cancer vaccines has been slowed by fears that healthy tissues would be destroyed by the immune system as well as the cancer cells.

The latest research focused on a protein called MUC1 that is made in bigger amounts in cancerous cells than in healthy ones. MUC1 is covered by a sugar that has a distinctive shape. The vaccine trains the immune system to recognise this shape, and target the cancer.

The misshaped MUC1 sugar is found in 90 per cent of breast and pancreatic cancers and 60 per cent of prostate cancers, as well as other tumours. Scientists predict that 70 per cent of all lethal cancers could be targeted by the vaccine.

In tests on mice the vaccine shrunk breast tumours by 80 per cent, and researchers now hope to pilot it on people within 2 years. Large scale human trials would then be needed before the drug could be brought to market.

The drug could then be used to boost treatment and prevent tumours from returning after surgery. High risk patients could also be vaccinated to stop cancers from developing.

Researcher Professor Geert-Jan Boons said: ‘This vaccine elicits a very strong immune response.’

‘It activates all three components of the immune system to reduce tumour size by an average of 80 per cent.’

Private medical insurance gives patients access to new drugs and treatments not available on the NHS, and this could one day include the new cancer vaccine. Compare health insurance quotes online now to be eligible for revolutionary medical developments.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011

Categories:  Medical
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