Diprovocim: A promising new cancer vaccine can avoid and stop the return of aggressive cancer cells.
By adding a molecule called Diprovocim to a vaccine, researchers say they are able to fight cells that cause cancer in mice. It works in conjunction with other treatments to treat cancer and can stop some aggressive and often fatal forms of cancer, such as melanoma.
"This co-treatment has produced a comprehensive response (treatment proposal) to the treatment of melanoma," said Dr. Dale Boger of Scripps Research.
The vaccine also urges the immune system to defend itself in case of cell return, according to the Nobel Prize winner Bruce Beutler of the University of Texas Southern.
"As a vaccine can train the body to fight against external pathogens, this vaccine trains the immune system to put it with a tumor," says Professor Boger.
So far, research has been tested against a particularly aggressive form of melanoma. Three groups of eight animals received the vaccine. Of the eight mice that received the vaccine with Diprovocim along with an adjuvant called alum, the vaccine had 100% success for over 54 days. Mice receiving the alum adjuvanted vaccine had a survival rate of 25 per cent whereas those receiving the vaccine only had zero survival rates.
When the researchers tried to re-insert the tumor into mice, they "didn't get it", says Professor Boger. "The animal was already vaccinated."
It is still in very early stages, but the next steps, according to Boger and Beutler, are to do further pre-clinical tests with the vaccine and study its effectiveness when combined with other cancer therapies.