New cancer vaccine Turned Tumor Cells into Traitors

By: | January 10th, 2023

The dual-action brain cancer vaccine causing tumor death. (Image by Kok Siong Chen and Khalid Shah

Scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital are working on an experimental cancer vaccine that turns cancer against cancer.

In this new approach, researchers are looking to turn cancer into its own worst enemy. This research is published in Science Translational Medicine. It involved developing a new cell therapy approach to eliminate established tumors. Researchers successfully tested their vaccine on a mouse model having glioblastoma, one of the most common forms of brain cancer. The vaccine delivered promising results.

Dual-action brain cancer vaccine

In this new study, scientists have decided to go with a different dual-action approach. This treatment involves transforming living tumor cells into anti-cancer agents. These agents could not only trigger tumor-killing actions but also provides anti-cancer immunity inside a patient’s body. 

“Our team has pursued a simple idea: to take cancer cells and transform them into cancer killers and vaccines,” said Study author and Vice Chair of Research at BWH, Khalid Shah.

“Using gene engineering, we are repurposing cancer cells to develop a therapeutic that kills tumor cells and stimulates the immune system to both destroy primary tumors and prevent cancer.”

Khalid Shah, explained to IE, “Living tumor cells possess an unusual feature to home to their fellow tumor cells. Taking advantage of this unique property, we engineered living tumor cells using the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 and subsequently engineered them to release tumor cell killing and immunomodulatory agents to prime the immune system for a long-term anti-tumor response.” 

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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