The discovery of a cure or ways to effectively prevent diseases such as cancer are true scientific aspirations. In a praiseworthy debut, scientists complete the first human test for a brain cancer vaccine.
As detailed in the published article, the researchers created a preliminary version of a vaccine that could trigger an immune response within brain tumor tissues.
Brain tumor-fighting vaccine
Cancer originates in cells, in the way they grow, how they multiply, and respect each other’s territory. Sometimes the process that takes most old cells to be cyclically replaced by new ones does not always go well.
As such, scientists are constantly looking for ways to stop, or resolve, this malfunction.
Now, a group of researchers at the German Cancer Research Center (DFKZ) has tested, for the first time in humans, a vaccine designed to help the body fight brain cancers. That is, he created a preliminary version of a vaccine that could trigger an immune response within brain tumor tissues.
Some generally incurable tumors can spread through the brain, making them almost impossible to treat or remove. In addition, they do not respond positively to treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
However, these can have a weakness, a unique genetic mutation. A DNA error causes a protein to change in the enzyme IDH1, a structure known as neoepitope. The immune system is able to recognize this protein as foreign and to realize that it also does not occur in healthy tissues, making it a target for treatment.
Our idea was to support the patients’ immune system and use a vaccine as a way of alerting to the specific tumor neoepitope.
Explained Michael Platten, director of the study.
The beginning of something that could be great
The new investigation builds on previous attempts to create an artificial version of the IDH1 segment responsible for the mutation. Incidentally, in 2019, this version managed to halt the growth of cancer cells in mice.
Now, the same team expects the same treatment to work as part of the first phase of human trials. These involve 33 patients from Germany.
For the time being, no side effects have been reported in patients to whom the vaccine was administered.
We were also able to demonstrate that the immune cells specific to the activated mutation had invaded brain tumor tissue.
Revealed Theresa Bunse, from DKFZ.
Although the vaccine worked well, it is not yet known how well.
We cannot draw any further conclusions about the vaccine’s effectiveness from this initial study without a control group.
Trials will continue and, for sure, impressive advances will be recorded.