CINCINNATI -- Is a revolutionary way to fight cancer on the horizon? Cincinnati researchers say yes.
New studies find that a vaccine could initiate the immune system’s response to fight cancer.
The discovery revolves around human Interleukin-15 (IL-15), a powerful pro-inflammatory protein that can enhance immune responses, according to principal investigator John Morris, MD.
“Interleukin-15 (IL-15) is a natural immune stimulating hormone that occurs in the body,” Morris said. “The hormone stimulates Killer-T cells that stimulates them to grow and become very active and attack cancer cells and virus infected cells.”
Morris says a number of laboratories have been working on IL-15 for some time, but only recently has the gene been cloned. Now it’s being looked at as a direct treatment for cancer.
Other vaccines like Gardasil are against infections that can lead to cancer, but once you develop the cancer, the vaccines are worthless, Morris says.
A study by the researchers used mice that already had existing tumors. Once vaccinated, the tumors in the mice stopped growing.
“Two years ago the FDA approved a prostate cancer vaccine that actually worked on men who already had cancer and weren’t responding to other treatment,” Morris said.
Morris believes this research is a game-changer.
“I think cancer vaccines are the new way for cancer treatment,” Morris said. “This is going to revolutionize how we look at treating cancer.”