Cancer Research Breakthrough: Leukaemia Vaccine Clinical Trials
British scientists at King's College London have been developing what they believe will be a vaccine to fight leukaemia. The leukaemia vaccine will soon be tested on human patients in the New Year. The vaccine is designed to prevent the return of leukaemia in patients who have already undergone bone marrow transplants or chemotherapy. The vaccine will be tested on patients with acute myeloid leukaemia which is the most common form of leukaemia in adult cancer patients.
The study, lead by Professors Ghulam Mufti and Farzin Farzaneh and Dr Nicola Hardwick at University College London, will soon begin clinical trails on human patients. Clinical trials for this potential leukaemia vaccine will test whether the immune system can be altered in a way that leads it to fight the return of leukaemia in patients who have already undergone treatments.
The idea behind cancer 'vaccines" is not necessarily to prevent the disease. Instead, once a patient has been diagnosed, the 'vaccine' programmes the immune system to hunt down cancer cells and destroy them.
The vaccine then prompts the immune system to recognise leukaemia cells if they return which prevents a relapse of the disease.
The Journal of Cancer Immunology will soon be publishing further details on the vaccine and the clinical trials. The vaccine is supposed to train the immune system to fight the return of leukaemia cells by recognizing them in the human body and fighting them off.
Creation of the vaccine occurs by development of a leukaemia cancer patient's blood cells in a lab. Two genes are given to the cells so that the immune system can learn to flag and fight leukaemia cells in the human body. Depending on the success rate of the clinical trials, the vaccine could be further developed for treatment of other cancer patients.