Stanford cancer experiment is eliminating tumors in mice

Cancer vaccine successfully eliminates tumors in mice

Stanford's formula contains two immune-stimulating agents which were so effective they eliminated the tumors they were injected into as well as reduced the tumors in untreated parts of the mice.

The new treatment, which was directly injected into the tumor sites of 90 mice, cured 87 mice of the disease.

Dr Ronald Levy, a senior author of the study told the Stanford Medicine News Centre that when the two agents were used together, they saw the elimination of tumours all over the body. The hope is to create a fast treatment at a fairly low-priced point - one that also doesn't have some of the adverse effects of other treatments. The study was also successful in mice that had breast, colon and melanoma tumors. Although the cancer recurred in three of the mice, the tumors regressed after a second treatment, according to researchers.The treatment worked best in mice that were transplanted with mouse lymphoma tumors. The other has been tested for human use in several unrelated clinical trials, according to the report.

Eventually, Levy said he envisions a future in which clinicians inject the two agents into solid tumors in humans prior to surgical removal of the cancer, which, Levy hopes, would prevent any recurrence of any cancerous tumor in the body. "We're attacking specific targets without having to identify exactly what proteins the T cells are recognsing". In some cancer therapies that already exist, like T-cell treatment used to combat leukemia and lymphoma, the patient's immune cells need to be removed from the body and then are genetically altered to fight the cancerous cells before being reintroduced to a person's system.

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Levy's immunotherapy method works to reactivate the cancer-specific T cells by injecting microgram (one-millionth of a gram) amounts of two agents directly into the site of the tumor.

The next step for the scientists is a small trial with 15 people who have been diagnosed with low-grade lymphoma. If they are successful, Levy will move on to other cancers for possible treatment.

Levy and his colleagues believe that applying small amounts of the agents could serve as a relatively affordable cancer therapy, that wouldn't have as many side-effects as some cancer therapies, because the approach is so targeted.

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