A vaccine which can help protect against lung cancer seems promising!
The new vaccine will trigger the immune system to attack against the most common form of lung cancer, and has shown promise. The vaccine has currently been tested on 148 patients and it showed that it slowed down the progression of cancerous cells – however, its effect on overall survival was limited and further trials will be needed.
Cancer Research UK, is not yet backing the trial because further progress is needed and many questions are still unanswered.
Many vaccines work in the same way – they train the body’s immune system to attack against a specific disease/infection by releasing a protein of a disease into the body and training the body to attack against that specific protein, thus protecting agaist future infections. So, a cancer vaccine would train the body to attack cancerous tumours.
The trial revealed that the illness was likely to be more stable in vaccinated patients compared to patients who had used chemotherapy – 6 month ‘progression free survival’ was 43% for vaccinated patients and 35% for patients on chemotherapy. However, the vaccine only increased the average survival time by 4 months compared to chemotherapy – leading to more developments happening in the future.
It looks like the battle between cancer is slowly depleting – prostate cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer and pancreatic cancer are currently being tested on with new vaccines.
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