Friday, April 28, 2017

Personalized Cancer Vaccines

Flu vaccine. Hopefully future research will allow for individualized vaccines against cancer (photo from Wikimedia Commons)
   Although advances such as the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) have worked to prevent the onset certain strains of cancer, treating cancer itself is a more difficult task. Over the years, researchers have strived to create treatments tailored specifically to the patient's needs. Now, they are one step closer.
    This article highlights several recent studies that suggest the possibility of tailoring cancer treatment specifically to patients. In the past, failed vaccines targeted specific cancer proteins that were present across people with the same type of cancer. However, now work has been done to include multiple mutated genes (neoantigens) from a specific patient's tumor, in hopes of priming their immune system to fight off the cancer. In one of the studies, a patient's tumor was removed, sequenced, and the neoantigen sequences were predicted using a computational system.
    Although promising, these studies were originally designed to test the safety of such techniques. However, hopefully further studies can one day verify this as an effective means to treat cancer. This pertains to class because it suggests an application for sequencing DNA in order to create mutated proteins (through transcription and translation).

1 comment:

  1. This discovery would save so many lives. Also, being able to personalize a treatment to a person/certain cancer would save the patient from going through any ineffective treatments.