A vaccine against two of the world's deadliest cancers has been discovered

vaccination illustration
Photo: EPA-EFE

Scientists from Elicio Therapeutics they produced vaccine which can help prevent two deadliest types of cancer in the world – colon and pancreatic.

Through first human studies, this cancer vaccine has been found to reduce the risk of relapse (return of the disease) in 100 percent of patients who had their tumor removed, but still have tumor markers in their blood.

"Although much more extensive studies are needed to confirm the drug's effectiveness, this cancer vaccine may increase survival rates in colon and pancreatic cancer," the scientists told the The Daily Mail.

The survival rate at this point after five years amounts only 12,5 percent in pancreatic cancer or 63 percent in colon cancer.

On the plus side, unlike other experimental cancer vaccines in development, this one doesn't have to be tailored to each patient, making it more accessible and cheaper.

As for the tests themselves, they were conducted on 25 patients who had pancreatic cancer or colon cancer.

All of them had their tumors surgically removed, but they still had cancer biomarkers in their blood, which leads to a high risk of the disease returning.

"It is the period in which a person who, unfortunately, has not been cured, has the smallest amount of cancer in his organism," said Pashtun Kasi, director of colon cancer research at the US Weill Cornell School of Medicine.

They are used in the vaccine two peptides, G12D and G12R. They are tied to albumin, a protein in the body that transports fatty acids to the lymph nodes.

Albumin helps the vaccine travel directly to the lymph nodes, where it activates the immune system.

This is different from other peptide vaccines, Cassie says, because similar vaccines have a by-pass route, meaning they travel to organs that don't need them and are degraded in the process.

During the treatment the cancer vaccine is injected into both arms and legs, that is, they are given in total four injections per week for four weeks.

Patients continued this process every other week for two weeks, then took a break before starting a three-month follow-up vaccination. The phase of subsequent vaccination is necessary because after a certain time the immune response to the vaccine weakens.


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