Vaccines that prevent the recurrence and development of breast and ovarian cancer can be available in less than a decade, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.
The researchers developed an immunotherapy treatment that trains the immune system to recognize and kill breast cancer cells. Based on the results of early-stage clinical trials, the vaccine seems to have succeeded in removing cancer cells in one patient, and another showed positive results.
"This should stimulate the patient's own immune response so that immune cells such as t-cells will enter and attack cancer," Dr. Sarums Chumsri, a cancer expert at a world-renowned medical center, told First Coast News.
Before the vaccine can be available to a large number of patients, it is necessary to pass a Phase 3 Food and Drug Administration trial, a process that may not be started for the next three years. But researchers believe their treatment will be resistant to screening.
"It is reasonable to say that we can have a vaccine within eight years that may be available to patients through their pharmacy or doctor," Mayo Clinic researcher Keith L. Knutson, Ph.D, told Forbes.
Mayo Clinic immunologists have also developed two other cancer vaccines for Triple Negative Breast Cancer and HER2 Positive Breast Cancer.
"We know that they are safe. We know that they stimulate the immune system [to fight cancer]… We know that they have a positive impact on ovarian and breast cancer. We have not seen any side effects that cause problems other than irritation in areas similar to flu vaccinations. Now we must convince the FDA, through solid and rigorous clinical trials that we see what we see. "
Since the 1990s, immunotherapy has increasingly come to the attention of medical researchers who are trying to defeat cancer without simultaneously destroying healthy cells in the body, such as chemotherapy and radiation. In theory, immunotherapy is the ideal solution. But one major obstacle is that all cancers are different, so it is not clear when or whether immunotherapy will be able to treat more than 100 types of cancer that are currently known to scientists.
However, researchers are currently exploring a variety of immunotherapy, and the global immunotherapy drug market is expected to grow to a value of $ 101.6 billion by 2023.
"Other people work on the lungs and prostate and other cancers," Knutson said. "Some are very similar to the approach we took, but there are some cellular processes that are wrong in different cancers."
Chumsri and Kutson both said that initial clinical trials of various immunotherapy showed positive signs.
"We have seen the initial signal that our vaccine has a very positive effect on the disease," Knutson said. "We are building on that foundation."