Scientists have developed a personalized anti-cancer vaccine that is effective in mice. Marie-Claude Bourgeois-Daigneault alongside some scientists alters viruses, making them specific to the cells present in a tumor.
Once these viruses known as oncolytic viruses are present in the patient’s body, they begin to infect and damage the cancer cells without having any impact on healthy cells. These viruses can act as a stimulant to the immune system so that they can identify and fight malignant cells. This is method is referred to as immunotherapy.
Researchers reveal how they made a potent personalized anti-cancer vaccine by mixing oncolytic viruses with synthetic molecules specific to exact cancer, in a study. Bourgeois-Daigneault discusses the approach and findings used by her team.
She made further analysis, explaining that some elements that boost the immune system’s cells i.e. the white blood cells must be present in a vaccine for it to trigger an immune response.
These elements which are known as adjuvants are important ingredients in all vaccines. Adjuvants enable the body to suspect possible danger and fight the threat by sending its immune cells.
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She explained that her team’s approach uses oncolytic viruses to boost this immune response and channel it to the cancer. The scientists developed a vaccine by mixing viruses that contain synthetic peptides resembling targeted cancer.
For this vaccine to be potent, it has to be personalized for every patient depending on the mutations particular to every cancer cell. The benefit of this method is that these oncolytic viruses can destroy cancer, according to Diagneault. This approach can fight cancer by killing it directly with the virus and triggering an immune response.
The scientists were able to show the effectiveness of immunization on the mice. Diagneault further explained that other tested anti-cancer vaccines don’t utilize oncolytic viruses as adjuvants. This made their approach different from the clinical trials carried out by other scientists.