Scientists test vaccine against prostate, lung and ovarian cancer

Researchers at Oxford Vacmedix, a company created by scientists at the University of Oxford in the UK, are testing a vaccine against prostate, lung and ovarian cancer in volunteers.

The vaccine is designed to attack a protein called survivin, which is released by cancer cells to elude the immune system and prevent the body from attacking them. The immunizer uses a synthetic version of the protein to teach the body to attack the substance and recognize tumors.

The formula is being evaluated in 35 cancer patients in the UK. All will receive three doses, two weeks apart, and will be monitored for six months. Although the immunizer is being tested against all three types of cancer, the expectation is that it will work for everyone.

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For now, the initial results are promising, but the researchers urge caution: patients need to be followed up to detect long-term side effects and define what the impact is on participants’ survival.

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