Medical breakthrough? Scientists reveal details about new pancreatic cancer vaccine

Scientists Queen Mary University of London and Zhengzhou University in China have found new details on pancreatic cancer vaccine

Pancreatic cancer begins in the tissues of your pancreas, which is an organ that lies horizontally behind the lower part of your stomach. The treatment includes surgical removal of pancreas then radiation and chemotherapy. But recently scientists have found a drug that can help the patients of pancreatic cancer.

Facts about Pancreatic Cancer

There are no symptoms in early stages, but later staged may include several physical experiences such as pain in the abdomen or middle back, gastrointestinal fluid in the abdomen or nausea, fatigue or loss of appetite, dark urine, weight loss or yellow skin and eyes. Patients with pancreatic cancer may have to go under surgical treatments and chemotherapies depending on the stage. There is no such medication which would prevent cancer.

 Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic Cancer Wikimedia commons

New development in Pancreatic Cancer research

As mentioned in the Medical News Bulletin, the immune system plays a key role to prevent cancer by identifying and killing the cancer cells or small tumours in early stages before they mature and cause any harm. At this current era, doctors are using immunotherapy which aims to boost the anti-tumour immune response of the host.

However, it should be noted that among all types of cancers, pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival in the whole world. It is known to develop and spread very slowly. The disease takes several years, at least a decade, from the first cancer-causing mutation to the disclosure of symptoms.

But researchers at Queen Mary University of London and Zhengzhou University in China has developed a vaccine, called "proof-of-concept vaccine." As per the scientists, this vaccine would be helpful in terms of preventing pancreatic cancer. In the study, which was published recently in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, they said this newly discovered vaccine prevents the initiation and progression of pancreatic cancer in mice.

Proof-of-concept vaccine

As per the researchers to create the vaccine the scientists transformed healthy mouse cells into pancreatic tumour cells by injecting two key mutations into the DNA and then the tumour cells were infected with oncolytic viruses, which selectively replicate in and kill tumour cells.

The study authors mentioned that those cells lacked tumour-forming ability but they continued to show the appropriate antigen profile to achieve anti-tumour immunity. When the researchers injected the infected cell vaccine into mice, who were genetically modified to develop cancer, they noticed a delay in tumour development and significantly prolonged survival in these mice. However, it should be mentioned that this treatment was well-tolerated and non-toxic.

Yaohe Wang, the lead author of this study said that "Development of a preventive vaccine against non-viral cancers is hugely limited by the lack of appropriate tumour antigens and an effective approach to induce robust anti-tumour immunity against those antigens. Through this international collaboration, we have made progress towards the development of a prophylactic cancer vaccine against pancreatic cancer."

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