Vaccine May Prevent Malignant TumorsBy Dania Vargas Austryjak
Binational effort yielding positive results.
Mexican and American scientists have developed a drug that prevents the development of malignant tumors and may also prevent relapses. It is an immuno-oncological treatment that reaches malignant cells, even those which are hidden. It functions by triggering the patients’ own immune system to eliminates the premalignant cells.
Scientists from the University of Washington and the Cancer Investigation Center in Sonora expect that within five years these vaccines will be regular and mandatory for everyone, as part of the immunization record for children and adults.
The Center has been working on this research for 14 years with support from the United States National Cancer Institute and by sponsors who have helped fund the treatment and follow up on over 400 Mexican patients with high probabilities of relapsing. Risk groups have also been treated, all presenting disease-free results.
The research team is planning on taking in a trial for colon cancer patients by 2016. The trials will not be carried out on patients who already have the disease. Rather, those who have family histories with Lynch syndrome or multiple polyposis will be given preventive vaccines. Studies will continue to be made in smoker and non-smoker patients in order to identify the proteins necessary to immunize the patients and prevent them from getting lung cancer.
As heartening as this may sound, the vaccine itself does not appear to be a cure for stage 4 cancer, although it may be used with chemotherapy and radiotherapy to improve the outcome.
Any Mexican can participate in this investigation project, regardless of which state one lives in. There are also talks underway to ensure that Mexico’s National Institute of Cancer Research (INCAN) makes the resulting drug available to the Mexican National Cancer Institute for anyone to have access to it.
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