Scientists discover potential universal cancer vaccine

A journal published in Nature this week highlights how a breakthrough in genetic therapy could lead to a vaccine able to target all types of cancer cells. Lab based work combined with results from an early phase clinical trial shows that injecting small particles of genetic code into the body could teach immune cells to recognise specific cancers.

Trials have shown that the vaccine triggered a strong immune response that started fighting tumours in three skin cancer patients that were part of a clinical trial. The new technology involved placing a small amount of genetic code on a negatively charged nanoparticle that was then targeted to specific immune cells in the spleen, lymph nodes and bone marrow.

Prof Ugur Sahin, a the managing director of Translational Oncology  at the University Medical Centre of the Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany explains that  “The vaccines are fast and inexpensive to produce, and virtually any tumour antigen can be encoded by RNA,”.

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