Posted by Rosie Hodgetts, Associate
Could a nanovaccine provide a cure for cancer?
Rosie Hodgetts, a specialist in claims involving cancer misdiagnosis, takes a look at a new technological development which could help people who have developed melanoma.
It is always the hope and dream that, with advances in science and technology, a cure may be found for cancer. That dream may however be closer to reality as researchers at Tel Aviv University have announced the development of a novel nanovaccine for melanoma which has, so far, proven effective in trials.
If you don’t know, melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer which can spread to other organs in the body. Traditionally it is treated by way of surgery and, if diagnosed and treated at an early stage, this is usually successful.
At the moment, however, if melanoma is not diagnosed until it is at an advanced stage, treatment will be used to try to slow the spread of the disease and to reduce the symptoms. This is usually done by way of specialist medication.
What is the new vaccine and how may it help?
Rather than the traditional surgical route, researchers have developed a nanovaccine which has been created by the harnessing of tiny particulars, approximately 170 nanometres in size made of a biodegradable polymer. Researchers then added two short chains of amino acids which are expressed in melanoma cells into the vaccine for testing the injection, at this stage on mice.
It is understood that the vaccine was tested on mice with melanoma and mice without who were then given melanoma.
In the first group of mice, those with melanoma, the vaccine significantly delayed the progression of the melanoma thereby extending the life of the mouse.
In the second group of mice, those that were healthy but were then given melanoma cells, having had the injection the mice did not develop melanoma. This suggests the vaccination prevented the disease.
In order to then validate the approach, the researchers used tissue taken from patients with melanoma brain metastasis which again demonstrated significant improvement following the vaccine.
Whilst it may be some considerable time before the vaccine is ready to be given in a clinical setting, this is a very exciting development in the fight against cancer. It has been suggested by the researchers involved that it may be possible to develop vaccines to treat other types of cancer and that this may provide a solid foundation for the development of other nanovaccines.
Whilst it is not yet clear how successful the vaccine would be at treating each stage of the cancer process, it is clear that the development of this vaccine may provide hope to those diagnosed with this extremely aggressive form of the disease.
It is also possible that the development of this vaccine may, in the future, help to prolong the lives of those who suffer a delay in diagnosis. As a clinical negligence solicitor, this development provides me with hope that those who do suffer a negligent delay in diagnosing or treating cancer, may still be given a chance to fight this disease or to enjoy a longer life expectancy.
Technology has the power to change the way we view personal injury.
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