Vaccine to prevent colon cancer tested

Vaccine Development

Vaccine Development

PITTSBURGH (UPI) — U.S. researchers are testing a vaccine to prevent colon cancer in people already at high risk for the disease.

Unlike other anti-cancer vaccines that block viruses, the vaccine has been directed against a variant of a cell protein — called MUC1.

Colon cancer generally starts with an abnormal growth in the intestinal lining — a polyp. When polyps¬† become cancerous they are called adenomas. Adenomas produce MUC1 in excess.

“When stimulating an immune response against the MUC1 protein in these precancerous growths,one should be able to draw the immune system’s fire to attack and destroy the abnormal cells,” principal investigator Dr. Robert Schoen of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine said in a statement. “That might not only prevent progression to cancer, but even polyp recurrence.”

Several people have received the experimental vaccine so far, and the researchers intend to enroll another 50 participants ages 39 to 70 with a history of adenomas sized 1centimeter or more.

After an initial dose of vaccine, the study participants get doses two and 10 weeks later. Blood samples taken then as well — also at 12 weeks, 28 weeks and one year later — will determine and measure immune response.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 24th March 2009

Leave a Reply