Researchers and scientists say a new cancer "vaccine" has eliminated "all traces of cancer" after being injected in laboratory mice.
In lab tests, 87 of 90 mice were cured of lymphoma tumors. Even in three that had recurrences, a second treatment caused the cancer to regress.
The breakthrough treatment is being researched by the Stanford University School of Medicine and was able to eliminate cancers even in distant untreated parts of the body where cancer had spread.
The most recent study shows that the process works for many different types of cancer including those that arise spontaneously by using two immune-stimulating agents. Those are injected directly into a tumor.
"When we use these two agents together, we see the elimination of tumors all over the body," Ronald Levy, MD, professor of oncology, said. "This approach bypasses the need to identify tumor-specific immune targets and doesn't require wholesale activation of the immune system or customization of a patient's immune cells."
One agent is already approved for use in humans and the other has been tested for human use in several clinical trials not related to this study. The hope is to create a fast treatment at a fairly low-cost point - one that also doesn't have some of the adverse effects of other treatments.
The treatment takes only one-millionth of a gram injected into the tumorous area which reactivates cancer-specific T-cells in the human body. Once these cells are created, they are "prescreened" to only recognize cancer-specific proteins. When they leave one cell they then travel through the body to find and destroy other identical tumors throughout the body.
"I don't think there's a limit to the type of tumor we could potentially treat as long as it has been infiltrated by the immune system," Levy said.
The current clinical trial is expected to recruit about 15 patients with low-grade lymphoma. If they are successful, Levy will move on to other cancers for possible treatment.
Researchers have seen similar results in mice with breast, colon and melanoma tumors.