Cancer vaccine, Italian study: promising results from the first tests

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Important step forward in a new frontier in the fight against cancer. An Italian study found that it would be possible to induce an immune response against cancer and improve the effectiveness of immunotherapy drugs by using a vaccine that uses a virus to instruct the immune system to recognize cancer cells. The result is due to researchers from the Armenise-Harvard immunoregulation laboratory at Iigm (Italian Institute for Genomic Medicine) based at the Irccs FPO in Candiolo, who also unveiled the mechanism of action that determines the effectiveness of the vaccine.

The study in detail


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The discovery, made in collaboration with the Swiss / Italian biotech Nouscom, was published on the pages of the specialized journal Science Translational Medicine. In addition to being studied in the laboratory, the vaccine was the subject of a first clinical study in 12 patients with a subtype of metastatic colon cancer. In the trial, the vaccine proved effective in association with an immunotherapy drug. “Considering that the technique for making these vaccines is decidedly tested and that the data obtained in the first clinical trial are very promising, there is a real possibility of creating new vaccines effective against many other types of cancer”, commented Luigia Pace, director of the Armenise-Harvard immunoregulation laboratory.

How the vaccine works

“The special and unique key capable of restarting the car engine, which in this case is the immune system of the individual patient: without that key the motor-immune system does not restart, and is unable to attack the enemy represented by the tumor cells “. Luigia Pace explained how the new therapeutic anti-cancer vaccine works. The vaccine, he added, “uses a gorilla adenovirus rendered harmless and is used together with an immunotherapy drug. The action is twofold: on the one hand, the immunotherapy drug eliminates the Pd1 protein that acts as a brake and prevents the immune system from activating. ; on the other hand the vaccine, through the adenovirus, transports the mutated molecules of the tumor of a specific patient. In this way the immune system can activate itself against those particular mutated molecules, recognizing and killing them. It is therefore also a personalized vaccine, because it starts from the mutation of the particular tumor of a patient. In this sense it is the only key that allows to restart the engine “. But not only. “This vaccine – added Pace – also generates a memory in the immune system which, therefore, will prevent the formation of metastases because it will continue to recognize and kill those cancer cells even after some time. In this way it is also a preventive vaccine against relapses “.

Vaccine under review by the Italian Medicines Agency

A further clinical trial of the vaccine will be launched shortly. The treatment, “is already being examined by the Italian Medicines Agency for authorization and the hope is that it will soon be available for the sick. Various Italian institutes, including the Candiolo Cancer Institute, are ready to start the trial clinic after the Aifa ok “, Pace reported, and then underlined that the same approach is also being studied to fight other types of cancer such as that of the lung.

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About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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