13 December 2011

High-capacity cancer vaccine

American scientists have learned how to treat mice from cancerCopper news

American scientists have managed to create a vaccine, the use of which allows an average of 80 percent to reduce the size of the tumor in mice with cancer, the ScienceDaily resource (New Vaccine Attacks Breast Cancer in Mice) reported on December 12. The work of a group of researchers from the University of Georgia and the Mayo Clinic (Arizona) will be published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The studies were conducted on a specially bred line of mice, whose cancerous tumors in their properties are 90 percent the same as tumors of the mammary and pancreatic glands, ovaries and rectum in humans. As in the human body, mouse cancer cells of this type, unlike healthy ones, produce a very large amount of MUC1 protein, which binds to carbohydrates and accumulates on the cell surface. At the same time, carbohydrate chains associated with MUC1 have a characteristic, strongly shortened appearance.

In previous years, scientists have tried to force the immune system to recognize the changed carbohydrate chains on the surface of cancer cells, thus distinguishing healthy cells from sick cells and attacking the latter, but without success.

According to Professor Sandra Gendler, one of the co-authors of the study, it was the choice of MUC1-related shortened carbohydrate chains as the key for the immune system, allowing it to recognize cancer cells, that made it possible to succeed. For the first time, it was possible to create a vaccine that provokes a very powerful immune response of the body and, thanks to the activation of all three components of the immune system, reduces the size of the tumor.

The MUC1 protein with a characteristic sharply shortened form of carbohydrate chains is produced in 70 percent of all cancer cases, and in such types of diseases as breast, pancreatic, ovarian cancer, multiple myeloma, it can be detected in 90 percent of tumors. This, according to Gendler, allows us to hope that in the future these cancers, which are currently considered fatal, will be curable.

Scientists hope that the new vaccine, which has yet to be tested on humans, will be on the market by 2020.

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