Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
One Small Step for Cancer Vaccines

By PFlats in News
Mon May 14, 2001 at 03:36:31 PM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

According to a new Reuters report(from Yahoo), vaccines designed to treat cancer are showing positive results in clinical tests. These vaccines are much less harmful than chemotherapy. However, like most new medicines, there's a drawback.


Early results from clinical trials of experimental cancer vaccines show they can halt, or even reverse, tumor growth in very sick patients who have failed other treatment, researchers said on Sunday.

Unfortunately, the vaccines don't work for everyone. Only 18% of a test group of lung cancer patients "saw their tumors disappear or shrink by more than half."

Despite being far from globally effective, the vaccine has its positive aspects, the most important being that the vaccine is has far fewer side effects than chemo. The vaccine's side effects "mimic the fever and injection site redness seen with other types of vaccination."

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Poll
Is the vaccine worth pursuing?
o Yes. 69%
o No. 3%
o I am the Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight. 27%

Votes: 62
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Yahoo
o Reuters report
o Yahoo [2]
o Also by PFlats


Display: Sort:
One Small Step for Cancer Vaccines | 17 comments (15 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
Vaccine? (4.75 / 4) (#1)
by natael on Sun May 13, 2001 at 08:55:17 PM EST

Excuse my ignorant question, but how is this a vaccine?

My understanding of vaccines was that they were used before infection for things like viruses by building up your immune system.

This on the other hand is used to treat people already suffering from cancer. I also though that since cancer was the mutation of ones own cells, the immune system would not target it. How then could you build up an immunity to it?

For reference, here is the definition for vaccine.

A preparation of a weakened or killed pathogen, such as a bacterium or virus, or of a portion of the pathogen's structure that upon administration stimulates antibody production against the pathogen but is incapable of causing severe infection.


cancer and virus similarities (4.50 / 2) (#3)
by Speare on Sun May 13, 2001 at 09:15:02 PM EST

This is my understanding; I am not a doctor.

A virus is a foreign pathogen that uses a host cell's internal mechanisms to reproduce the viral DNA and viral shells, at the expense of reproducing the cell's own DNA and cell wall materials.

A cancer cell reproduces other cancerous cells; one of the prime features of malignant cancer is that the reproduction process runs rampant. The cells churn out broken DNA which will guide the production of more cancerous cells.

A vaccine may indeed be suitable for fighting cancers, if the immune system can be trained to discriminate between cancerous cellular products and normal cellular products.

The other very promising area of research is that of blood vessel destruction. We may all have many very tiny cancerous tumors in us, all the time. Normally, they cannot grow beyond a certain point because the normal blood vessels won't grow into a tumor, and the inner cells can't thrive. A detected malignant tumor has diverted the blood vessel process to feed the cells in the center of the tumor. Stopping that corruption of the blood vessels is a good way to halt tumor growth. Successful cures in mouse studies broke the news in the last couple of years.
 
[ e d @ e x p l o r a t i . c o m ]
[ Parent ]

It's a vaccine (5.00 / 7) (#4)
by iGrrrl on Sun May 13, 2001 at 09:20:03 PM EST

You don't reference your definition, but it's a bit incomplete. The salient point in the quotation is the following:
...or of a portion of the pathogen's structure that upon administration stimulates antibody production...
One can think of cancer cells as pathogens, despite the fact that they derive from the patient's normal cells. The vaccines in question are designed to stimulate antibody production and immune reaction to the cancer cells. This usually doesn't happen with any strength because the immune system learns very early to recognize "self". (The list of diseases where the immune system screws up and attacks normal cells is not short, but generally our bodies are pretty good at this.)

The technique the article describes involves using the patient's own cancer cells (where possible) to induce an immune response to the tumor. Because the point is to stimulate the immune system by directly introducing specific antigens, it definitely comes under the rubric of vaccine.

--
You cannot have a reasonable conversation with someone who regards other people as toys to be played with. localroger
remove apostrophe for email.
[ Parent ]

More Information (5.00 / 2) (#2)
by natael on Sun May 13, 2001 at 09:10:22 PM EST

If your interested in more specific information, you might want to check out Cell Genesys' website.

They talk about the technology behind it, including the antiviral gene delivery system. There is a flash movie explaining how the vaccine works, and you can get updated news on how the clinical trials are going.

Um... (1.00 / 6) (#6)
by PFlats on Sun May 13, 2001 at 10:13:10 PM EST

Yeah, it's a typo. Stupid me.



--- "It's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care." - Peter Gibbons, Office Space
[ Parent ]

My brain isn't working tonight. (1.00 / 5) (#7)
by PFlats on Sun May 13, 2001 at 10:14:57 PM EST

If you find a way to fix it, let me know. *sigh* Parent was supposed to be a reply to the editorial comment above it.



--- "It's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care." - Peter Gibbons, Office Space
[ Parent ]

Very shameless plug (OT) (3.00 / 1) (#8)
by Anonymous 7324 on Sun May 13, 2001 at 10:39:25 PM EST

United Devices is running a SETI-style search for cancer-curing molecules. A worthy donation of waste CPU cycles, IMHO.

I've heard... (3.25 / 4) (#9)
by Anonymous 6522 on Sun May 13, 2001 at 10:43:27 PM EST

That only a fraction of your processor time will be given to the cancer search, the rest will be sold to whoever has the money to buy it.

[ Parent ]
United Devices (5.00 / 2) (#10)
by Mad Hughagi on Mon May 14, 2001 at 12:35:26 AM EST

I was running the cancer search for a while, but I found it to be rather unstable on my system.

The way they had it set up, you could decide which projects you wanted to work on. If you wanted to let your computer crunch the commercial problems you had to tell it to do so. It wasn't a bad interface though, and made a nice screen-saver... just a little bit too unstable for my liking.


HUGHAGI INDUSTRIES

We don't make the products you like, we make you like the products we make.
[ Parent ]

Hmm (none / 0) (#15)
by Anonymous 7324 on Mon May 14, 2001 at 09:20:32 AM EST

interesting. The one that I'm running right now doesn't seem to let me decide what molecules I want to process, but it does seem rather stable. I've got it running on a few machines at work, and they've not had any hiccups that I'm aware of.

[ Parent ]
you heard (2.50 / 2) (#12)
by delmoi on Mon May 14, 2001 at 02:01:37 AM EST

wrong
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Well... (2.00 / 3) (#14)
by Anonymous 6522 on Mon May 14, 2001 at 07:27:36 AM EST

Many thanks for telling that I was wrong, although I don't see how being wrong warrants a one.

[ Parent ]
you heard (3.00 / 1) (#13)
by delmoi on Mon May 14, 2001 at 02:01:49 AM EST

wrong
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
"Unfortunately" - but still (none / 0) (#16)
by error 404 on Mon May 14, 2001 at 12:30:24 PM EST

Unfortunately, the vaccines don't work for everyone. Only 18% of a test group of lung cancer patients "saw their tumors disappear or shrink by more than half."

well, the results could have been better. Still, if I had lung cancer, something that had an %18 chance of reducing it by half or more, that would be something very cool.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

still, though. (none / 0) (#17)
by Shren on Tue May 15, 2001 at 05:51:32 PM EST

It's a good start. And when they figure out why it works in some cases but not others, we'll have learned something new.

[ Parent ]
One Small Step for Cancer Vaccines | 17 comments (15 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!