Cancer is a significant global public health concern. Due to variables such as nutrition, the environment, and the aging of the population, the global prevalence of cancer has increased in recent years, and cancer is gaining prominence as the main cause of death.

Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery are the only treatments for cancer now accessible. On the path to cancer treatment, medical researchers have investigated cancer-prevention vaccines. Vaccines against HPV-related diseases, for instance, have lowered the incidence of cervical cancer and other forms of cancer. Moreover, the majority of these vaccines are therapeutic vaccines that target particular surface proteins produced by tumor cells; if these surface proteins mutate, the vaccine's protective efficacy diminishes.

Recently, Harvard University researchers released an article titled "A vaccine targeting resistant tumors by dual T cell plus NK cell attack".

Researchers have discovered a novel and more flexible cancer vaccine that assists the immune system in eliminating tumor defenses and destroying cancer by stimulating T cells and natural killer cells to fight synergistically so that they may perform a larger variety of immune functions. According to the researchers, the vaccine might be used to treat a variety of cancers.

In the study, researchers developed a conceptual new cancer vaccine that targets the tumor immune escape mechanism. The vaccine targets MICA and MICB stress proteins on the surface of tumors, which are produced in large quantities when the body suffers excessive DNA damage due to cancer, but are barely detectable in healthy cells.

This vaccine works by eliminating one of the main defense strategies used by tumors. Antibodies generated by vaccination block tumor cells from segmenting MICA and MICB, limiting the probability that they will activate immune cells and evade immune attack. When the MICA and MICB proteins linked to the surface of the tumor are shed, the tumor is free to proliferate. At the same time, the cytotoxic function of natural killer cells is enhanced, and the cross-presentation of T cells is increased, accelerating the immune system to destroy tumors.

The vaccine disrupts this cleavage process by increasing the density of proteins on the surface of tumor cells, which the researchers call "stimulating protective immunity".

Experiments with MICB transgenic mice, which are analogous to human cancer cells, revealed that vaccinated mice inhibited MICB shedding to undetectable levels and significantly increased the cell surface protein density of MICB in melanoma cells, and that the vaccine demonstrated significant efficacy in controlling melanoma and lymphoma cells expressing MICB or MICA.

To evaluate vaccine-induced immune memory, mice were re-exposed to melanoma four months following the original vaccination and found to be fully protected.

Using two models of spontaneous metastasis, a melanoma model and a triple-negative breast cancer model, the researchers also examined the prevention of metastatic and recurring malignancies by immunizing mice following surgical excision of the primary tumor.

Histological investigation of lung sections revealed that the immunization significantly decreased the frequency and size of lung metastases compared to controls.

Similarly, the researchers examined the immunogenicity and safety of vaccines in non-human primates, rhesus monkeys. The study demonstrated that all four rhesus monkeys developed anti-MICA and anti-MICB antibodies following vaccination, and that titers grew 100 to 1000-fold with consecutive boosters. No clinical adverse effects were seen after vaccination, giving early proof of the vaccine's safety.

The researchers believe the vaccine might be utilized to treat a variety of cancers in a large number of cancer patients. There is evidence that the vaccination is more effective when administered alongside radiation treatment. They are currently planning a human clinical study to evaluate the novel vaccine.


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