‘Amazing, bodywide effects’: Stanford researchers say cancer vaccine eliminates tumors in mice

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A cancer treatment experiment at Stanford University School of Medicine was shown to eliminate all traces of cancer in 87 of 90 mice, according to researchers.

The study says this approach could work for many different types of cancer and provide a rapid and relatively inexpensive cancer therapy. It’s unlikely to cause adverse side effects often seen with other immune stimulation, according to researchers.

As part of the study, researchers injected minute amounts of two immune-stimulating agents directly into the solid tumors of mice. The tumors were eliminated, along with all other traces of cancer, including distant untreated metastases.

“When we use these two agents together, we see the elimination of tumors all over the body,” said Ronald Levy, MD, professor of oncology. “This approach bypasses the need to identify tumor-specific immune targets and doesn’t require wholesale activation of the immune system or customization of a patient’s immune cells.”

Researchers are planning a clinical trial testing the treatment in 15 human patients with low-grade lymphoma.

There are many types of immunotherapy treatments, some of which cause side effects or are very lengthy.

In this specific treatment, two agents are injected to stimulate the immune cells within a particular tumor. Those cells then leave the original tumor to find and destroy other identical tumors throughout the body, according to the study.

“In the mice, we saw amazing, bodywide effects, including the elimination of tumors all over the animal,” Lecy said.

The study states:

The approach worked startlingly well in laboratory mice with transplanted mouse lymphoma tumors in two sites on their bodies. Injecting one tumor site with the two agents caused the regression not just of the treated tumor, but also of the second, untreated tumor. In this way, 87 of 90 mice were cured of the cancer. Although the cancer recurred in three of the mice, the tumors again regressed after a second treatment. The researchers saw similar results in mice bearing 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.

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