Stanford Researchers Have Discovered A New Cancer Vaccine That Might Change The Treatment Of This Condition

Date February 7, 2018

The idea of using our immune systems to beat cancer intrigues scientists for years. Researchers at Stanford University have apparently found a way of doing just that by activating T-cells in tumors.

Researching on mice

By injecting two agents which stimulate the immune system directly into tumors, researchers have successfully destroyed any sign of cancer in mice. Ronald Levy, MD, says:

When we use these two agents together, we see the elimination of tumors all over the body. 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.

Eugene Lu /

The two agents that were used in the study have been previously considered in cancer research, but this is the first time they have been combined.

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T-cells are the body's weapon of choice in fight against cancer. Firstly, a short stretch of DNA (CpG oligonucleotide) acts as the first agent and triggers the T-cells. Then, the second agent, an antibody, activates the T-cells and rushes them to assault the cancerous cells. Since the two agents are injected into the solid tumor itself, no chain reaction might trigger the entire body's immune response.

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Ronald Levy continues:

This is a very targeted approach. Only the tumor that shares the protein targets displayed by the treated site is affected. We’re attacking specific targets without having to identify exactly what proteins the T cells are recognizing.

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Human trials

Safety is the primary concern, but in this case, one of the agents has been successfully applied to humans, while the other one poses no significant threat since it has been used in previous unrelated studies.

Of course, there is no guarantee that the combination of the agents will be applicable and safe for humans. There is a statistical tendency that only 10% percent of studies done on mice is transferable to humans. Seeing how this method could revolutionize our fight against cancer, 10% seems like more than a fair chance to take.

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Stanford researchers have already set the human trials and will elect 15 patients that suffer from low-grade lymphoma. Doctor Levy hopes that this approach will help in reducing surgery risks and potentially destroy any lingering cancer cells that pose a threat of spreading. The professor adds:

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.

If the human trials show success, it could start off a whole new era of fighting against this terrible disease.

Source: NYDailyNews, MedStanford, ZMEScience

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This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.