LA JOLLA, CA – Sept. 6, 2018 – An experimental cancer vaccine that boosts the immune system’s ability to fight cancers could work in tandem with other cancer therapies to fight aggressive tumors, scientists reported recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The researchers demonstrated that adding a molecule called Diprovocim to a vaccine can draw cancer-fighting cells to tumor sites. Their experiments in mice with melanoma suggest these vaccines could increase chances of recovery in cases where a drug therapy alone is not working.
“This co-therapy produced a complete response–a curative response–in the treatment of melanoma,” says Scripps Research Professor Dale Boger, PhD, who co-led the study with Nobel laureate Bruce Beutler, MD, of UT Southwestern.
The vaccine also prompts the immune system to fight tumor cells should they ever return, a capability that could prevent cancer recurrence. “Just as a vaccine can train the body to fight off external pathogens, this vaccine trains the immune system to go after the tumor,” Boger explains.
Developed by Boger and Beutler, Diprovocim works as an “adjuvant,” a molecule added to a vaccine to fire up the body’s immune response. The molecule is easy to synthesize in the
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