MAY 05, 2019 10:02 AM PDT

Good news for a colorectal cancer vaccine

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S. among both men and women and the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths. According to The American Cancer Society (ACS), in 2019 alone, colorectal cancer, which refers to cancers that begin in the colon or rectum, will kill 51,000 people and 101,000 new cases of colon cancer and over 44,000 cases of rectal cancer will be diagnosed.

That’s why a new clinical trial for a colorectal cancer vaccine is so exciting. The results of the phase 1 clinical trial were published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer and after the vaccine was cleared as safe and successful of activating immune cells.

The trial was led by researchers at Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University and included 10 patients with stage 1 or 2 colon cancer. After receiving the vaccine, the participants in the trial had blood tests 30, 90, and 180 days following in order to check for immune cell activation. The team’s results showed the patients successful T cell activation, which means that immune T cells are capable of locating and eliminating colon cancer cells. Equally as important, the team was also able to determine that the participants involved in the trial did not suffer any major side effects of the vaccine.

But how exactly does the vaccine work? Based on previous research of a molecule called GUCY2C, which colorectal tumors are known to express, the vaccine a message to the body’s immune system to find and attack GUCY2C molecules.

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cancer-related cause of death. Photo: Pixabay

"There is an urgent need to understand what fuels colorectal cancer growth, and to harness that knowledge for developing novel therapies," says Karen E. Knudsen, Ph.D., who is the director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health. "This pivotal study provides some of the first evidence that it may be possible to safely direct a patient's own immune system to seek and destroy this cancer type. This is a true milestone — made possible through the scientists and clinicians in our colorectal cancer team working in synchrony."

The researchers are hopeful about the possibilities that the vaccine may hold, not only for colorectal cancer but gastric, esophageal, and pancreatic as well. "We are preparing for a phase II study that will begin recruiting patients this fall," says study first author Adam Snook, Ph.D. "We used lessons learned in the first study to modify the vaccine to hopefully make it even more effective," he concludes.

Sources: Medical News TodayJournal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
NOV 29, 2019
Immunology
NOV 29, 2019
Protecting Killer Immune Cells from Themselves
Destroying human cells compromised by viruses and cancer is the name of the game for so-called “killer” cells of the immune system. They employ...
DEC 04, 2019
Cancer
DEC 04, 2019
Photon up-conversion for new cancer treatments
Scientists from the University of California, Riverside and The University of Texas at Austin have made a breakthrough in materials science that has signif...
DEC 23, 2019
Health & Medicine
DEC 23, 2019
Are Popular Gyms Promoting Indoor Tanning?
You might assume that by now, most humans are aware of the dangers of indoor tanning beds. However, many popular gyms include tanning beds as a perk of mem...
JAN 11, 2020
Cancer
JAN 11, 2020
Should we be concerned about talc powder and ovarian cancer?
After the outcry against baby powder and concerns regarding its link to ovarian cancer, still, no investigations have clearly linked the product to the dis...
FEB 13, 2020
Cancer
FEB 13, 2020
Can Ebola help treat glioblastomas?
You might want to sit down for this. New research published in the Journal of Virology has named a surprising new ally to brain tumors: Ebola. Yes, yo...
FEB 17, 2020
Cancer
FEB 17, 2020
Listening in on cancer cells
Research published today in Nature Methods reports a new technique of “listening” to cancer cells. While it may sound odd (no pun intended...
Loading Comments...