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Apr 24, 2019

Treatment turns tumors into cancer vaccine factories

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Researchers at Mount Sinai have developed a novel approach to cancer immunotherapy, injecting immune stimulants directly into a tumor to teach the immune system to destroy it and other tumor cells throughout the body.

The “in situ vaccination” worked so well in patients with advanced-stage lymphoma that it is also undergoing trials in breast and head and neck cancer patients, according to a study published in Nature Medicine in April.

The treatment consists of administering a series of immune stimulants directly into one tumor site. The first stimulant recruits important immune cells called dendritic cells that act like generals of the immune army. The second stimulant activates the dendritic cells, which then instruct T cells, the immune system’s soldiers, to kill cancer cells and spare non-cancer cells. This immune army learns to recognize features of the tumor cells so it can seek them out and destroy them throughout the body, essentially turning the tumor into a cancer vaccine factory.

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