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Cancer Vaccine That Mimics Lymph Node

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the chipped-in-a-good-cause dept.

Medicine 53

SubComdTaco writes "Harvard has announced their approach towards an implantable cancer vaccine (press release here). To anyone familiar with how the immune system works, this appears to be a synthetic lymph node, an intriguing bit of biomimicry. From the Science Daily article: 'A cancer vaccine carried into the body on a carefully engineered, fingernail-sized implant is the first to successfully eliminate tumors in mammals, scientists recently reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine. The new approach, pioneered by bioengineers and immunologists at Harvard University, uses plastic disks impregnated with tumor-specific antigens and implanted under the skin to reprogram the mammalian immune system to attack tumors. The new paper describes the use of such implants to eradicate melanoma tumors in mice. ... The slender implants... are 8.5 millimeters in diameter and made of an FDA-approved biodegradable polymer. Ninety percent air, the disks are highly permeable to immune cells and release cytokines, powerful recruiters of immune-system messengers called dendritic cells. These cells enter an implant's pores, where they are exposed to antigens specific to the type of tumor being targeted. The dendritic cells then report to nearby lymph nodes, where they direct the immune system's T cells to hunt down and kill tumor cells.'"

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interesting (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30249228)

hmm could this be used for HIV as well then? program the immune system to attack it?

Re:interesting (4, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30249286)

The immune system does attack HIV, and that's kind of the problem. HIV infects T4 lymphocytes, which get killed off by the rest of the immune system, which then allows opportunistic infections to cause problems (and death).

Re:interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30250606)

...and also now the possible basis for a new approach to treating lymphedema?

Re:interesting (1)

armareum (925270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30258096)

The larger problem is that the AIDS virus does not copy itself particularly well, consequently mutating fast. Different 'populations' of slightly different versions of the AIDS virus grow and decline and eventually the immune system can never quite rid the body of the infection which eventually overwhelmed as you described.

Re:interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30252152)

Unless I'm misreading, this is a cure for cancer. Why the fuck aren't people more excited? O.o

Re:interesting (1)

roguetrick (1147853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30252426)

Not a cure for cancer, a possible way to treat tumors. Theres plenty of types of cancer that wouldn't do shit for, and a heavy immune response wouldn't be very good for the brain if that other new research claiming to cure many MS cases is to be believed(

8.5 millimeters .. (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30249324)

If it cures my cancer, I don't care if the think is the size of a hockey puck and they have to stick it in my forehead*.

*Ass was too expected.

Re:8.5 millimeters .. (-1, Troll)

Aliaha (1124905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30249478)

Well, hooray, you're saved! .. if you're a mouse... Not the first time it works for those lucky bastards, not us. I don't know how about you but I'll wait with champagne.

Re:8.5 millimeters .. (0, Offtopic)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30249538)

Which has nothing to do with my post, well done, well done getting your typical knee jerk response out of the way early.

Re:8.5 millimeters .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30249790)

You're kind of an ass. You don't have many friends, do you?

Re:8.5 millimeters .. (2, Informative)

zullnero (833754) | more than 4 years ago | (#30249822)

Well, those who know, shoot for Score:5, Informative. Those who don't, shoot for Score:5, Funny. Guess which one I'm shooting for with THIS reply?

Re:8.5 millimeters .. (2, Funny)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30249978)

Score: 5, Sarcastic?

Re:8.5 millimeters .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30252528)

-1 Troll

Re:8.5 millimeters .. (1)

Nathrael (1251426) | more than 4 years ago | (#30254606)

Score: 2, Nobody cares?

Re:8.5 millimeters .. (1)

Aliaha (1124905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253500)

Go on, troll me more. I'm kinda working in general "cancer curing" area. I'm watching news that pop up from time to time, mostly about gliomas. You can say I'm waiting for a breakthrough. And you know what? Yes, they've found a cure! For mice. And melanomas were processed too, and guess what? It actually worked. For mice. Probably kidneys, liver, stomach, name it and you have it. And yes, for mice. So this news is not an excuse for me to celebrate, yet. I'll wait for successful clinical trial.

Re:8.5 millimeters .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30249528)

Well, if that's the size for mice, and the required size scales with body size...
Though I must admit, hockey puck forehead would be an even cooler distinguishing mark of cancer patients than the current baldness.

Re:8.5 millimeters .. (1)

Larry Lightbulb (781175) | more than 4 years ago | (#30250346)

Baldness depends on many faftors, often people undergoing chemo just have thinning hair. The real distinguishing mark is the chemo pump whirring away at their side.

Re:8.5 millimeters .. (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 4 years ago | (#30249634)

*Ass was hoped for.

Otto von Warburg already cured cancer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253518)

He got a Nobel Peace Prize for the discovery that cancer is destroyed in a high-oxygen environment like when you hyperventilate a little or sit in an oxygen chamber (like what Michael Jackson was "accused" of doing before he went out for the night to stalk children).

There is another matter all alone that removes cancer, and it was synthesized under the trademark "Leyatrill": Vitamin B17, being found abundantly in the seeds of fruits particular Apricot-seeds.

Of'course you will not hear about any of this, because look at all the f*cking bums that make a living off perpetuating cancer; all the social clubs and "help" clinics, all the fund-raisers, all of it is bogus. 15 million people die every year from infections after surgery and treatments endured in malpractice alone. 3rd-world countries don't even have a name for cancer because they don't get this. Only industrialized countries that have such high Heavy Metal poisoning and bad food quality are what diminish the Immune System to allow cancer to take hold. The fact is cancer is nothing more than a fungus ( [] ) that everyone has in them just from the environment, and it only gets out of control when the Immune System takes a dive; a cancer sends out virus it makes to take-over your cells no different than a pile of cellulose in the forest, then it lowers the PH level of your blood and skin so that it can digest and absorb the nutrients that compose your body, then when finished it sprouts an impaling growth that is otherwise known in the fungus world as the fruiting body.

Just go for Vitamin B17, an Oxygen tank or O-zone treatments, maybe even some Cesium Chlorite to rub directly onto your skin above the cancer.

Very interesting (1)

Painted (1343347) | more than 4 years ago | (#30249352)

It's not what I would normally consider a vaccine- I was going to post that it wasn't a vaccine at all, but a quick examination of the definition of the word indicates I was about to firmly place foot-in-mouth had I done so.

A fantastic breakthrough if it works, though. I have been hearing about potential strategies to enable a cancer victim's own immune system to attack tumors, but this is the furthest along that I've heard of. Good jorb!

Really cool... (2, Interesting)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 4 years ago | (#30249404)

unless the foreign components are later found to cause cancer themselves.

Re:Really cool... (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30249606)

depends, if it cures your cancer now, but it will give you cancer in 20 years it may be worth it.

Re:Really cool... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30249620)

Most cancer treatments actually increase your chances of other cancers. (Chemo/radiation).

Pretty much the only treatment that isn't known to increase the risk for secondary cancers is surgery and that is usually followed by frequent x-rays or CT scans (which are known to increase chances of secondary cancers)

Re:Really cool... (2, Insightful)

AnotherUsername (966110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30250386)

unless the foreign components are later found to cause cancer themselves.

Or vampirism. []

Re:Really cool... (1)

lord_nimula (839676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30250552)

Anything that allows you to live longer also increases your risk of developing cancer, or suffering from any other disease. Potential causes of death are a natural hazard of being alive.

Re:Really cool... (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30251934)

Ah, but does it give you autism?

Just kidding. I find those people irresponsible and ignorant.

Treatment, not vaccine... (1)

Last_Available_Usern (756093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30249454)

According to the article, it releases "antigens specific to the type of tumor being targeted". Sounds more like a treatment, unless you plan to implant antigens for every known tumor type.

Re:Treatment, not vaccine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30249598)

influenza vaccines are targeted to a small group of strains. this technique is consistent with that.

What happened to tagging? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30249460)

I think whoever CAN tag should probably throw on "iamlegend".

Re:What happened to tagging? (1)

smitty777 (1612557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30249832)

Rats - somebody beat me to it :^\

Not a immunologist (1)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30250380)

I'm curious though, Isn't a cancer cell really just a normal cell that's basically gone "immortal" and reproduces indefinitely? Isn't there a chance that this vaccination could accidentally tell the immune cells to attack cells that are normal but could have a similar antigen? Just curious.

Re:Not a immunologist (2, Informative)

Ruhlandpedia (1165417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30250572)

Not really a problem, the antigens are significantly different and we already use them to diagnose the cancer in the first place. If there was any autoimmune response the implant could be removed and the antibodies would filter out of the body.

Re:Not a immunologist (1)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30251972)

Nicely said. So this will not "train" the immune system as other vaccines do.

Re:Not a immunologist (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30250598)

Cancer is triggered by the mutation of a normal cell into one that basically reproduces indefinitely. The worst types of cancer (e.g. small cell carcinoma) are cells that are smaller than normal cells, and these are particularly dangerous because they don't clump together like benign tumors. These ones spread throughout the body and that is why they are so deadly. I'm not quite sure why the body doesn't recognize these cells as "invaders" in the first place. But, if they can synthetically tell the lymph node to produce the antigen needed for the type of cancer, I don't see why the body would not be able to seek it out. If the t-cells then recognize normal cells as invaders, then the person will have all sorts of autoimmune disorders. However, maybe once they get the lymph node out of there after the cancer is killed, it won't be instructing the t-cells to attack these types of cells anymore.

Re:Not a immunologist (1)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30251994)

So basically it will be reversible with removal of the artificial lymph node. I think that would be a very important caveat to mention to prevent people's fears of any autoimmune diseases. Thanks for the clarification.

Re:Not a immunologist (1)

phtpht (1276828) | more than 4 years ago | (#30252948)

I'm not quite sure why the body doesn't recognize these cells as "invaders" in the first place.

I'm not an immunologist, but I would guess it's because the cancer cells don't cause violent death (necrosis) of normal cells.

Re:Not a immunologist (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30254254)

Its actually in line with a more common cancer treatment (that some oncologists believe may have a lot of promise) that was used prior to the discovery of x-rays and other forms of radiation... back in the early 20th century, a common treatment was the injection of infectious fluid (bacteria basically) into the tumor, which (we know today, they didn't then) caused the body's immune system to go into overdrive and as a side effect take out the tumor as well.

Radiation became the norm in the 30's and 40's (when it was used to treat just about everything), and the problem is, radiation kills or weakens the immune system, so you can't use both treatments. There's been a lot more interest lately in research to determine how well immune triggers work in treating cancer, but its deemed unethical to not use radiation/chemo, which can't be used with those older techniques.

This seems to be a similar line of thought (and may be related to the increased interest in the last half dozen years) -- get the immune system "woken up" to deal with cancer, in this case presumably before cancer cells can grow into tumors.

Re:Not a immunologist (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30255518)

It does seem that this is a refinement on that very old technique. It has the advantage that it doesn't require a solid tumor mass to work, so it can be tried after the current treatments to clean up that last bit that can cause a relapse.

Once it's proven itself there it will likely be tried as a replacement for radiation/chemo.

Step right up (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 4 years ago | (#30250562)

and get your Lupus / out of control immune system deployment widget.

Useless without a Jew vaccine (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30250640)

Because the cockroach Jews will just want to refuse to give it to anybody who is not a sick paper worshipping pawn dedicated to their paper god and giving them lots of pieces of paper.

The other nice thing about a Jew vaccine is there would finally and really be a holocaust and none of their kind left to cry crocodile tears about it much less fabricate more fairy tales.

Re:Useless without a Jew vaccine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30256810)

This is why we need to have children go to school longer into the evening. Not only will they learn that the Holocaust wasn't a lie, but they will also not be able to bother the adults in the room with the nonsense that they try to impress their friends with.

As someone diagnosed with colon cancer (1)

Larry Lightbulb (781175) | more than 4 years ago | (#30251132)

Can I urge you to go for a colonoscopy when recommended. Too many people put it off because they're embarrassed or think it will be painful - believe me, surgery and chemo are far worse.

Re:As someone diagnosed with colon cancer (1)

ImitationEnergy (993881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30252240)

A product called Oxy-Nectar and Hyaluronic Acid will keep you from getting it again. See also [] for getting your body to create extra adult stem cells and heal most every organ in the body. You can get some extra oxygen by using "self-hyperbarics => [] and my formula for a fantastic health tonic that even trims the waistline and builds muscle is here => [] .

Re:As someone diagnosed with colon cancer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30253734)

Go away, snake oil salesman.

I am legend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30251526)

My name is Robert Neville. I am a survivor living in New York City. I am broadcasting on all AM frequencies. I will be at the South Street Seaport everyday at mid-day, when the sun is highest in the sky. If you are out there... if anyone is out there... I can provide food, I can provide shelter, I can provide security. If there's anybody out there... anybody... please. You are not alone.

cool story bro (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30251708)

no really, this story is cool. and i am hoping my brother reads it.

Auto-immune (1)

Jessified (1150003) | more than 4 years ago | (#30251906)

I would be worried about invoking autoimmune diseases.

Human clinical trials (2, Informative)

alexo (9335) | more than 4 years ago | (#30251954)

Making the immune system attack (only) the cancerous cells seems to be a popular research subject these days.

Another company called Immunovative is taking a slightly different approach which does not require an implant.
They are currently running human clinical trials in Israel and California. More information here [] .

Disclaimer: A close friend of mine is participating in the clinical trial in Carlsbad.

Zamboni cured MS anyone anyone? (2)

ImitationEnergy (993881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30252214)

This cancer thing is so fantastic I don't reckon anybody cares that Dr. Zamboni of Italy has cured MS (Multiple Sclerosis) eh? He tried it on a fluke with his wife first and it fixed her up immediately. He found a blockage that was preventing blood from getting out of the brain so it was causing damage and stuff. I lost the link but I'm sure Google has it. Yeah baby, and for some odd reason he didn't do it on mice for 10 years first!

Any recent information? (1)

Revvy (617529) | more than 4 years ago | (#30253350)

The Press Release is dated January 22, 2009. Has there been any recent developments? What's the timeline for human trials?
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