(RNN) – Researchers at Stanford University have discovered a possible “vaccine” to treat cancer.
The treatment consists of injectable immune system boosters, which could provide a relatively cheap, non-invasive alternative to radiation and chemotherapy, known for their unpleasant side effects.
The research involved experiments on the cancerous tumors of 90 mice, according to the Stanford Medicine News Center.
Scientists injected two immune boosters – one a short stretch of DNA, the other an antibody – into tumors they’d implanted in the mice.
The boosters eliminated the tumors in the mice by activating T-cells - essential parts of our immune systems - housed in the tumors, the Stanford Medicine News Center said.
Cancerous tumors naturally suppress their T-cells, preventing them from attacking the tumors.
The boosters reinvigorated the T-cells, allowing the cells to destroy the tumors and related cancer that had metastasized throughout the mice.
The boosters successfully treated 87 of the mice with the first round of injections. The cancer recurred in three of the mice, but a second round of injections removed their tumors, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“When we use these two agents together, we see the elimination of tumors all over the body,” Ronald Levy, professor of oncology, told the Stanford Medicine News Center.
One of the boosters has already been approved for use on humans. The other is being tested for possible use on human patients.
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