Scientists produce personalised skin cancer vaccine

Two clinical trials for skin cancer have proven that vaccines tailor-made to target a particular patient’s tumours are safe.

The vaccines are detailed in papers published in the Nature journal this July.

Although it does not equate to a cure, the study could combat cancer in humans. They also provide hints about ways to boost the vaccines' power by combining them with treatments that target the immune system, called immunotherapies.

The study took six patients diagnosed with malignant melanoma who had undergone initial treatment.

Naked Scientist Chris Smith explains more.

What they then did was to sequence the DNA of the tumor and then the healthy tissue and compare the two.

Chris Smith, The Naked Scientist

They were looking for were the genetic differences between the tumor and the healthy tissue.

They then used a computer programme to ask of these differences, which ones would be reflected in a difference on the surfaces of cancer cells in terms of the chemical markers they display, and which ones would be most apparent to the immune system.

Chris Smith, The Naked Scientist

Once they got a short list, they made the proteins that those mutated genes would have made in the cancer cells and turned them into a vaccine.

Chris Smith, The Naked Scientist

He says none have had a relapse in two years.

Click on the link below to listen to the full audio....

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