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Cancer Vaccine – A Shot in the Arm for Melanoma

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British researchers believe they have found a scientific breakthrough in not only reversing melanomas but possibly curing them altogether. Using a radical new method called “ImmunoBody” technology, scientists believe that a vaccine can now be created using DNA to eradicate a tumor.

ImmunoBody technology is a method of treating cancer using vaccinations to promote an immune response.

The vaccine contains tiny DNA and directly targets a tumor, in turn activating the cells which target melanoma. The vaccine has the ability to stimulate T-cells that kill cancer cells. Other vaccines failed to work as they stimulated the entire immune system into fighting and not just cancer attacking T-cells.

It is hoped that eventually this research could help develop a similar method to fight other cancers and even prevent people developing cancer altogether.

UK based Scancell, the developers of the new cancer vaccine SC1B1, recently announced that their proposal to begin the first stage of clinical trials was approved by the Gene Therapy Advisory Committee (GTAC) and the Medicine and Healthcare Product Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This is the first phase in developing their new cancer vaccine.

“This is huge. We could now have a vaccine that can target a tumor and kill it without danger to surrounding healthy tissue or cells,” said Professor Lindy Durrant, lead researcher. “In the short-term, this could cure some patients with the disease, and in the long-term it could be used to prevent people developing it in the first place,” continued Durrant.

If successful it is expected to become available within the next 10 years.

Clinical trials are expected to begin in hospitals in the UK shortly. Patients with advanced stages of melanoma will be given the vaccine, as well as newly diagnosed patients.

The incidence of melanomas, the deadliest form of skin cancer, have been steadily increasing and according to the American Cancer Society there were over 68,000 newly diagnosed cases in the U.S. in 2009 alone.

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