& nbsp & nbspΔρ. Filippos Patsalis & nbsp; & nbsp; The use of vaccines as tools to stimulate the immune system to prevent and treat cancer
Therapeutic vaccines artificially activate the immune system so that it only attacks cancer cells present in the body. As each tumor has unique antigens that are expressed on its surface, therapeutic vaccines can help the immune system recognize these antigens and elicit an immune response only against them.
Vaccination is today the most essential means of preventive medicine, protecting public health from serious and life-threatening diseases. Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles and mumps are just a few examples of diseases that have resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives in the past. The multiple role of vaccination has as its primary role the prevention of diseases.
However, with the great development observed in the fields of genetics with the next generation sequencing, bioinformatics as well as immunology, new avenues have been opened for the development of vaccines that are used as tools to stimulate the immune system, both to prevent and to treat and other diseases, such as cancer.
Particular emphasis is placed by the scientific community on research into the development and use of prophylactic vaccines targeting specific infections, which increase the chances of developing certain types of cancer. In cases where pathogenic microorganisms enter the body, they multiply and produce large amounts of toxins. This results in infection of the body's cells leading to infection. Several prophylactic vaccines against cancer have been developed, approved and used today, such as the one for the prevention of HBV virus, which causes hepatitis B and can subsequently lead to liver disease, cirrhosis or liver cancer. The HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine is also widely used, which can cause genital warts and cancer of any of the genitals and reproductive organs in both men and women. & nbsp; One of the goals set by the World Health Organization (WHO) is to eradicate uterine cancer through the complete vaccination of 90% of girls by the age of 15. This highlights how important vaccination can be in eradicating cancers for which we already have the appropriate preventive vaccines.
The most common cancer treatment options include radiation, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy. and surgery. In recent years, immunotherapy has been added as a promising tool in clinical practice.
This treatment option utilizes the immune system to treat some types of cancer and can be used alone or in combination with other treatments. There are two main categories of cancer immunotherapy that can be divided into passive and active. Passive immunotherapy does not specifically target cancer cells, but enhances the immune system's ability to fight them by providing ready-made antibodies. An example of passive immunotherapy is therapeutic monoclonal antibodies that can be created in a unique way and destroy cancer cells. In contrast, active immunotherapy targets exclusively cancer cells and is achieved through therapeutic vaccines and a type of white blood cell, T-lymphocytes, which are genetically engineered to fight cancer cells due to their important role in the body. p>
As mentioned above, therapeutic vaccines against cancer artificially activate the immune system so that it attacks only the cancer cells present in the body. As each tumor has unique antigens that are expressed on its surface, therapeutic vaccines can help the immune system recognize these antigens and elicit an immune response only against them. Consequently, their modes of action are to prevent the metastasis of a tumor and to destroy any remaining cancer cells, thus helping to prevent cancer recurrence. Two examples of cancer-approved vaccines from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of cancer are Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) and Sipuleucel-T (Provenge). Although the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine was developed to prevent and control tuberculosis, it proved to be the first successful immunotherapy against bladder cancer. Sipuleucel-T (Provenge) is a vaccine approved in 2010 for the treatment of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic metastatic prostate cancer that cannot be treated with hormone therapy. This vaccine has a complex production process and serves as a personalized vaccine as it is produced by isolating specific cells from the patient's blood. Numerous clinical trials have shown that the use of these vaccines has encouraging effects on other cancers such as melanoma, leukemia, lung cancer and lymphoma.
The use of cancer vaccines is very promising, as the ability of the immune system to “teach” to attack specific cells is a very powerful tool in controlling certain types of cancer. Along with the development of cutting-edge technologies that promote the development of new vaccines, research in this field is unfolding new ways of preventing disease, as well as new treatments, which can save many lives in the future.
The information in this article is based on the most recent available scientific research and disclosures at the time of publication. The contents of this article are for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for medical advice.
The scientific references used in compiling this article are in website www .nipdlabs.com.cy
* Founder and CEO of NIPD Genetics