Researchers believe the technology behind the Oxford coronavirus vaccine can be harnessed to fight cancer.
An early study in mice showed that the vaccine can help stimulate the immune system to fight tumors, and a clinical trial in 80 patients with lung cancer with immunotherapy is scheduled to begin this year.
The British vaccine protects against the Corona virus using a chimpanzee virus that delivers a genetic code that carries the instructions for the protein carried on the virus, and the goal is to make the cells of the body make this protein, and to train the immune system to recognize and fight the virus.
Scientists realized that the same technology could be used to get the body to make two proteins often found in tumours, converting these proteins into white blood cells that can kill cancer cells.
Professor Adrian Hill, from the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, said: “This new vaccine platform has the potential to revolutionize cancer treatment. A study in mice conducted by the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research showed an 82 per cent greater reduction in tumor size after 36 days.”
The new vaccine targets proteins produced by a wide range of cancer cells, so it could help people with many different types of cancer, including breast, bowel, bladder, lung and skin cancer.
Compared with immunotherapy alone, the vaccine and immunotherapy achieved an 82 percent greater reduction in tumor size after 36 days. The mice had a 36 per cent chance of survival, up from 17 per cent.