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"Childhood vaccines enhance cancer treatment"

Scientists claim new research shows that pre-immunisation, acquired through common childhood vaccines, can be used to enhance therapeutic cancer treatment.

The University of Helsinki team discovered that when animals were pre-immunised with an ordinary vaccine (for example, anti-tetanus), engrafted with tumour and then treated with the new hybrid viral platform called PeptiCRAd, they showed a dramatic improvement in tumour-specific immune response.

As a consequence of this, there was significantly improved anti-tumour efficacy.

Research lead Professor Vincenzo Cerullo claimed this approach can be easily translated into clinical trials, as it relies on pre-existing immunity of vaccines included in the national vaccination programs worldwide.

He said: “This method has potential to have a significant impact on current immunotherapy protocols.”

Due to the high coverage of international vaccination programmes, the majority of the worldwide population has been vaccinated against common pathogens, leading to a pathogen-specific immunological memory.

This is able to deploy a much faster and more effective immune response when we re-encounter the pathogens. This is called secondary response and it is stronger and faster than the first time we encounter a pathogen.

Generally speaking, the therapeutic cancer vaccines generate an anti-tumour response that is closer to a primary than a secondary immune response.

Image credit | iStock

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