Could humans be freed from cancer? A recent experiment that successfully eliminated tumors in mice may bring a ray of hope.
Scientists at Stanford University in the United States found that after injecting directly a combination of two immune boosters into solid mouse tumors, all traces of the specifically targeted cancer are gone, according to the research paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
"When we use these two agents together, we see the elimination of tumors all over the body," Ronald Levy, senior author of the study told the Stanford Medicine News Center.
Levy hailed the result as "amazing." The researcher believed the local application of very small amounts of the agents could serve as a rapid and relatively inexpensive cancer therapy that is unlikely to cause the adverse side effects often seen with bodywide immune stimulation.
"This approach bypasses the need to identify tumor-specific immune targets and doesn't require whole sale activation of the immune system or customization of a patient's immune cells," the professor said.
The "vaccine" has shown results in mice bearing lymphoma, breast, colon and melanoma tumors.
"I don't think there's a limit to the type of tumor we could potentially treat, as long as it has been infiltrated by the immune system," Levy said.
Of the two immune agents used in the study, one has already been approved for use in humans, and the second is currently involved in a lymphoma treatment trial.