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Clinical trials to begin in two years

A team of international researchers has used a human vaccine to cure prostate tumors in mice without side effects. 

Richard Vile, Ph.D., study leader and Mayo Clinic immunologist, along with Alan Melcher, Ph.D., and Peter Selby, Ph.D., both from the Cancer Research UK Clinical Centre at St. James' University Hospital, have developed a cure for prostate cancer in mice that also shows promise for other cancers and melanoma as well. 

Scientists have attempted to accomplish this in the past, but were hindered by the inability to isolate a diverse collection of antigens in tumor cells. This then causes tumors to mutate and survive the body's immune system. 

But Vile and his team were able to overcome this by first piecing together parts of genetic code from human prostate tissue into a complementary DNA (cDNA) library. The cDNA were then placed into a mob of vesicular stomatitis viruses (VSV), which were cultured. They were then given to the mice as a vaccine through several intravenous injections. 

Tumors have a unique "fingerprint" called an antigen, which triggers an immune system response through a molecular protein tag. By releasing the human vaccine prostate cancer antigens into the mutated VSV vector, the mice's T-cells were able to launch an attack. The animals' immune systems then became familiar with the antigens expressed in the virus after being exposed to the mutated virus, and created a potent immune response. This attacked the prostate tumors. 

Vile's immunotherapy research differed from others because it made use of viruses as vectors for cDNA libraries. This eliminates the challenge of isolating antigens in tumor cells because it offers an in-depth profile of the cancer. 

"Nobody really knows how many antigens the immune system can really see on tumor cells," said Vile. "By expressing all of these proteins in highly immunogenic viruses, we increased their visibility to the immune system. The immune system now thinks it is being invaded by the viruses, which are expressing cancer-related antigens that should be eliminated."

Clinical trials are expected to begin in two years.

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By Dropmachine on 6/20/2011 10:06:16 PM , Rating: 3
How stupid is our society that it will take TWO GODDAM YEARS for them to start trials? I know its legalities and red tape and blah blah, but seriously COME ON. Get your asses moving and start already!

By MrBlastman on 6/21/2011 1:29:23 AM , Rating: 3
It's called government agencies... the FDA in this case. They tend to get larger and larger and their rulebooks get thicker and thicker, thus lengthening the girth of time required to fight cancers in sticky areas such as the prostate.

I know, it sucks, but, that's how our system is right now.

By silverblue on 6/21/2011 2:34:29 AM , Rating: 3
I don't want to sound a little silly here (for once) but as this is a British trial, I'm not sure what the FDA have to do with it.

By jimhsu on 6/21/2011 2:00:05 AM , Rating: 5
I think it's called "side effects". The thing to watch out for in future trials will be autoimmunogenicity -- in other words, if the tumor antigens look "too much" like normal cells ... well, you'll have a lot of problems on your hands. All sorts of horrible things with long names like rheumatoid disease, Wegener's granulomatosis, glomerulonephritis, etc etc...

Killing tumors is a balance between a) the tumor itself, b) immunoreactivity, and c) drug toxicity. When any of those things get out of whack, bad things happen, like your patient dying. Hence the need for more studies before this goes to clinical trials.

By nstott on 6/21/2011 1:23:14 PM , Rating: 2
...and given the choice between rheumatoid arthritis and tumors, it's best to stick with the devil you know...

While I'm admittedly making light of your reasonable point, a more balanced approach would be to hold off on patients that have other viable treatment options while giving the new, untested option to patients that are likely to die anyway and have no other options available after they sign release forms acknowledging the risks.

By jimhsu on 6/21/2011 2:35:06 PM , Rating: 2
That is true, and that is why we have fast track drug programs (e.g. ). I don't know if similar things exist for clinical procedures such as this that are not drugs per se, but have the same set of benefits and risks.

All in all, informed consent is going to be a necessity here, as with any other drug program.

By nstott on 6/22/2011 10:22:24 AM , Rating: 2
I've heard of the fast track program, but it did little to help my dad who died of multiple myeloma after the doctors refused to allow him to take drugs still in the experimental phase. It was well-understood that he would die without a new drug since the approved drugs lose effectiveness over time.

By someguy123 on 6/21/2011 5:06:01 AM , Rating: 2
Well, if you want to take a nice injection into your prostate and drop dead a year later, be my guest.

Not everything kills humans or rats immediately. These types of vaccines do need the years of testing before trials can begin.

By JW.C on 6/23/2011 5:14:19 AM , Rating: 2
For some people that ARE going to die because of the cancer it is more than worth the risk.

By FaceMaster on 6/21/2011 10:42:24 AM , Rating: 2
Get your asses moving

By geddarkstorm on 6/21/2011 2:18:35 PM , Rating: 2
Medical science requires careful deliberation. Yes, patience is bitter, but the fruit is sweet. If we rush things, we run the ricks of unintended consequences popping up that completely ruin that medicine in the eyes of the public, and whatever company/doctors were spearheading its use. There are plenty of drugs every year that go through full testing and -still- have unintended consequences pop up in the broader population that leads to recalls or those really long winded side effect speeches in commercials.

This isn't a game. These are lives, present and -future-, that are at risk. We must take all due diligence.

None the less, this is an immense breakthrough. Completely curing a cancer by this method has opened the door to being able to target many other cancers through a similar way. We just have to see if it'll work the same for humans as it did for mice. Remember, it was -human- antigens used in the mice, which vastly lowered the chance for autoimmune disease. Human antigens in humans greatly increases that risk, so we'll just have to see if this is feasible or not.

Cancer Cure?
By Black1969ta on 6/20/2011 8:28:23 PM , Rating: 4
Vaccine? I thought a Vaccine prevented Illness, not cured it. Even so this could be Big news If it Pans out. When the Next Gen Consoles phase in the Government show establish a Network that uses Idles cycles of those machines and pay people to keep their old PS3's plugged in and crunch numbers for the Genome project and other scientific research. This is one of the few ways I agree with Government spending, and it stimulates the economy (putting money in a vast array of consumers pockets) Have pay based on data crunched and pay enough to pay the electricity and a moderately small stipend to boot, even if it only turned out to be $50 profit per month it would help! and the research computing power would help too!

RE: Cancer Cure?
By Synastar on 6/20/2011 8:36:14 PM , Rating: 5
The vaccine itself didn't cure it. The vaccine caused the mice's immune systems to create anti-bodies for the virus in the vaccine. That virus contained a payload that is the genetic make-up for the prostate cancer thus tricking the mice's immune systems into attacking the prostate cancer.

RE: Cancer Cure?
By jimhsu on 6/21/2011 1:55:43 AM , Rating: 4
Tech analogy: suppose that you have a piece of antivirus software, but (like always) it's out of date. Because you downloaded some pr0n, you got infected. The vaccine in this case is like a new set of virus definitions; once you get that in, the antivirus software goes in and saves your pr0n collection. But without it, the software has no idea what to look for.

How's that for 2 minutes of thinking?

Dr. Vile
By AmishElvis on 6/20/2011 9:00:35 PM , Rating: 2
"We are hopeful that this will overcome some of the major hurdles which we have seen with immunotherapy cancer research," says Richard Vile, Ph.D.

Dr. Vile = Best Name Ever. Sure he can cure cancer, but does he have a sing along blog?

RE: Dr. Vile
By FNG on 6/20/2011 9:34:12 PM , Rating: 2
Dick Vile at that. Amazing.

RE: Dr. Vile
By nstott on 6/21/2011 1:26:06 PM , Rating: 1
In Asia he'd be known as "Vile Dick."

RE: Dr. Vile
By AerieC on 6/21/2011 1:01:19 PM , Rating: 2
Super villain name? I think so.

"It's amazing how many supervillains have advanced degrees. Graduate schools should do a better job of weeding those out."

RE: Dr. Vile
By geddarkstorm on 6/21/2011 2:20:24 PM , Rating: 2
If you've gone through graduate school, you'd realize that's where they're MADE.

Ah, Cancer...
By Stoicz on 6/21/2011 1:58:59 AM , Rating: 3
RE: Ah, Cancer...
By CloudFire on 6/21/2011 7:09:50 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks for this link... such an amazing video.

RE: Ah, Cancer...
By Felthis on 6/21/2011 10:15:35 AM , Rating: 2
Thank you for that.

My father in law has Gastrointestinal Stromal tumors. He's been on one clinical trial or another for the past 12 years and the latest drug he's on was a long shot after he had rampant tumor growth. With the current drug (developed for renal cells) he's actually seen tumor shrinkage for the first time since he was diagnosed. I don't know if he's aware of Dr. Burzynski's work, but I don't think so.

Two Years...
By C5Rftw on 6/20/2011 8:43:29 PM , Rating: 2
Two Years from the zombie apocalypse. time to prepare

RE: Two Years...
By bunnyfubbles on 6/20/2011 8:46:38 PM , Rating: 2
2 years from now is 2013, the 2012 apocalypse pretty much nullifies that one...

RE: Two Years...
By silverblue on 6/21/2011 2:36:43 AM , Rating: 2
Speaking of zombies, did anyone read this particular gem?

I am legend
By Pirks on 6/20/2011 8:32:54 PM , Rating: 2
Will Smith: Wha? Curing cancer with virus? Time to get a mannequin collection...

RE: I am legend
By YashBudini on 6/20/2011 9:12:53 PM , Rating: 2
Only this time you'll be able to spot the infected because they'll having a raging hard-on.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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