Laboratory trials at Scripps Research Institute in San Diego have revealed incredible results, with a new vaccine that, when paired with an adjuvant, managed to have 100% success rate on mice with melanoma.
“This co-therapy produced a complete response—a curative response—in the treatment of melanoma”, reported Research Professor Dale Boger, one of the co-authors of the paper.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that typically appears following extended exposure to ultraviolet rays. It has a pretty low incidence rate, but a high mortality rate, as it can be difficult to identify in the early stages.
By adding Diprovocim, a molecule synthesized in a lab environment, to the anti-PD-L1 therapy (checkpoint inhibitors part of the immunotherapy procedure), scientists observed a full survival rate over 54 days in the mice. In addition to this, they noticed another positive effect, the vaccine also prevented cancer recurrence.
Immunotherapy seems to be the field providing the most notable advancements for cancer treatment in recent years. Many centers are focusing their work in this direction as the therapies developed are more effective, better targeted and far less damaging on the body, compared to current forms of chemotherapy and radiation.
“Just as a vaccine can train the body to fight off external pathogens, this vaccine trains the immune system to go after the tumor” said Dr. Boger.
What is even more exciting, is the fact that the vaccine can be used to boost current cancer therapies and improve their effectiveness in fighting the disease. The procedure is simple and requires only two injections intramuscularly, at a week difference.
The team is eager to continue experiments and test it along with other cancer treatments.