A Vaccine for Cancer? 

By Akahlulwa Radana 

A vaccine is a drug that prepares the immune system to combat a specific disease. Even though producing a vaccine for cancer is extremely challenging, there are many promising vaccine trials underway.

Vaccines that prevent cancer caused by certain viruses do already exist. The trouble, however, lies in the fact that most cancers are not viral. A study named the ‘Lynch Vaccine Study’ is known as one of the initial clinical trials in the search for a vaccine that will prevent nonviral tumours. 

The aim of the study is to transport tiny pieces of proteins or antigens from cancer cells, into the body, in order to activate the immune system and fight off developing malignancies. There are many vaccines approaches that researchers are currently testing – some are using tumour antigens which are seldom found in healthy cells and commonly in cancerous ones. The Lynch Vaccine Study focuses on an effective type of antigen, exclusively present in tumour cells known as a neoantigen.

Glimmers of hope are emerging from early trials, and if this concept succeeds in the preventions of at least a few malignancies, then it can be said that we are a step closer to administering vaccines for cancer which will save many lives in the future.

Photo credit: Pexels

Leave a Comment