ScienceDaily reports that a vaccine developed and tested against human papillomavirus-derived cancer was effective in killing the disease. Dr. Jesse Stoff, a New York immunologist, has long agreed that vaccines are the answer for curing cancer.
The Moffitt Cancer Center used a synthetic vaccine to kill human papillomavirus-derived cancer in mice. The medical journal Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy published the study.
There are two vaccines that eliminate HPV, but they are only effective in preventing the virus that causes the cancer. The cancer itself is typically treated using radiation and chemotherapy which, says immunologist Dr. Jesse Stoff, can prove devastating. They still carry a 10 percent chance of recurrence.
“In the war against cancer we have learned many things,” says Dr. Stoff. “For example, we have learned that surgery, radiation and chemotherapy can effectively kill cancer tissue but all too often are not curative because a single evasive, resistant cell can eventually be fatal.”
“More recent strategies,” he says, “have focused on bolstering the hosts’ defenses biochemically, endocrinologically and immunologically.” They include vaccines like the one in this study.
“Vaccines for cancer can be good alternatives to conventional therapies that result in serious side-effects and are rarely effective against advanced disease,” agrees Dr. Esteban Celis, senior member and professor in Moffitt’s Immunology Program.
In order to find an HPV-cancer vaccine, Dr. Celis and the University of South Florida College of Medicine’s Molecular Medicine program’s Dr. Kelly Barrios-Marrugo designed a peptide vaccination strategy called TriVax-HPV.
The strategy was created to generate cytotoxic T-cells to target specific proteins, HPV16-E6 and E7, that are expressed in HPV cancer tumors. Drs Celis and Barrios-Marrugo tested the vaccine on mice with HPV16-induced tumors. They found that TriVax that contained a peptide of the E7 protein “induced tumor clearance in 100 percent of the treated mice.”
However, says Dr. Barrios-Marrugo,”we do not know whether similar effects can be accomplished in humans.” Still, “We believe that these studies may help to launch more effective and less invasive therapeutic vaccines for HPV-caused malignancies.”
Dr. Jesse Stoff also believes that while vaccines haven’t been perfected as a cure for cancer, they provide an important stepping-stone. “The use of cytokines and autologous vaccines have opened the doorway into the intricacies of immune modulation,” he says. “In recent months and years these and other strategies have revealed information about the inner workings of the cancer cell, which has been increasing exponentially.”
Dr. Jesse Stoff is the medical director of the Solstice Wellness Center. He is a sought-after lecturer on the topics of cancer, immunology, and immune reconstitution.