Opportunities And Obstacles of Therapeutic Cancer Vaccine

Posted by beauty33 on November 19th, 2021

Vaccines are undoubtedly one of the most landmark inventions in the history of human development. Since the world\'s first cowpox vaccine was developed in 1976, humans have been working on various vaccines to get rid of diseases such as smallpox, polio and other deadly diseases.

As for cancer, the medical community is also actively developing various vaccines in the hope that they can awaken our immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells after injection, and at the same time generate an immune memory response so that the immune system can continue to protect us for the next decade or even a lifetime. Preventive and therapeutic vaccines have been under development for various types of cancer and may become new weapons that can stop the progression of tumors, prevent recurrence, and even serve as treatments to help humans fight cancer.

  •  What is a cancer vaccine?

We have probably all heard of vaccines for infections such as measles and chickenpox. These vaccines use weakened or killed viruses or bacteria to stimulate an immune response in the body and prepare the immune system to defend against these invaders, which can help people avoid infection.

Whether being used to prevent infectious diseases or to prevent and treat cancers, vaccines can work through similar mechanisms—they teach the immune system to recognize infectious pathogens or cancer cells as foreign substances that need to be eliminated. Cancer vaccines are currently divided into preventive cancer vaccines and therapeutic cancer vaccines. Preventive cancer vaccines target some cancers caused by viruses, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccine. While therapeutic cancer vaccines aim to awaken the immune system to attack cancer cells in the body, such as Talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC) for advanced melanoma.

  •  How does a therapeutic cancer vaccine work?

Cancer vaccines are among the newest forms of treatment in cancer immunotherapy. Cancer cells usually have certain molecules called tumor-specific antigens on their surface, while healthy cells do not.

Some therapeutic cancer vaccines are composed of cancer cells, some cellular components or pure antigens (certain proteins on cancer cells). When a cancer vaccine is injected into the body, these molecules act as antigens that can be linked to T cells by viruses or bacteria, training the immune system to recognize tumor cells as targets for attack, thus stopping the growth of cancer cells, preventing cancer recurrence, and removing cancer cells that remain after treatment. Most cancer vaccines also contain adjuvants, which are substances that help boost the immune response, such as interleukin-2.

Some cancer vaccines are made for individual patients. These types of vaccines are produced from human tumor samples. This means that surgery is required to obtain a tumor sample large enough to produce the vaccine.

  •  What are the advantages of therapeutic vaccines?

Better performance on targeting: Cancer vaccines enable the immune system to specifically attack cancer cells that have one or more specific antigens.

A lower level of side effects: Compared to chemotherapy and radiation, cancer vaccines usually do not cause serious side effects.

Long-lasting effects: Because the immune system has special memory cells, the vaccine may continue to work after vaccination.

What are the limitations of cancer vaccines?

In fact, it is very difficult to develop an effective vaccine for cancer treatment. First is the problem of cancer cells suppressing the immune system. This is the most important way that cancer develops and grows. Researchers are trying to use adjuvants in vaccines to address this problem. Second, cancer cells develop from a person\'s own healthy cells, so the immune system may treat cancer cells as normal cells and not attack them. In addition, it is difficult to eliminate large or serious tumors using only vaccines. What\'s worse, sick or older people have weaker immune systems. Thus after vaccination, their bodies may not be able to produce a strong immune response, which limits the effectiveness of the vaccine.

Most cancer vaccines are currently in early clinical trials, and cancer vaccine research is still in full swing. With accumulated experience and knowledge in the area of cancer vaccine, Creative Biolabs can provide cancer vaccine discovery, engineering, analytical characterization, and in vivo assessment services to help clients successfully initiate and complete critical phases of cancer vaccine product discovery and development.

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