In a recent study from Cancer Amsterdam and elsewhere, scientists found that a vaccine targeting a certain protein is effective in treating multiple types of cancers in several kinds of animals.
In the paper, they described the protein they discovered that is unique to cancer tumors and the vaccine they developed to treat patients.
In 2006, the team found that a protein called vimentin is produced in cancerous tumors and exists only in the blood that feeds such tumors.
They then showed that the protein assisted with the creation of new blood vessels that enable tumor growth and that it also played a role in turning off the immune response.
The researchers then developed a vaccine that would prevent the creation of vimentin inside tumors.
They tested the vaccine, called Griffioen, on several different laboratory animals with skin, brain, and colorectal cancer and found varying degrees of success.
Most recently, they tested it with dogs that had developed bladder cancer independently.
In the current study, the researchers treated 35 dogs with their vaccine. Half of them survived to the end of the 400-day test period, and two of them fully recovered.
They also treated one of their older pet dogs who had developed bone cancer and was expected not to live very long. The tumors disappeared and the dog returned to normal health soon thereafter.
The researchers conclude that their testing provides further proof that vimentin blocks the immune system and promotes the development of new blood vessels in tumors.
And blocking it, they note, appears to be an effective therapy for the treatment of tumors.
They note that thus far, they have seen no side effects with the use of Griffioen and report that more testing is required before clinical trials in humans can begin.
The research is published in Nature Communications and was conducted by Judy R. van Beijnum et al.
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