New research could revolutionize existing forms of cancer treatment

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.”

To read more about Interleukin-15's biology and its therapeutic implications in cancer, CLICK HERE.

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