New research on immunotherapy has the potential to unlock the cure-all for cancer. The method is best described as introducing a Trojan Horse into the body, to provoke the immune system to wage an all-out war on cancer cells.
The twist to the research is to trick the immune system to trigger the production of antigens that target malignant cancer cells. The current roadblock to a cancer cure is the immune system itself, which is unable to distinguish between cancer and healthy cells.
Similar experiments have been conducted with the same goal of duping the immune system to act:
In a report by the Medical Express, trials for the treatment were already conducted on three patients with advance skin cancer. Prior to this, experiments were conducted on mice. The patients were treated with very low doses, with follow-ups cautiously considered.
Tricking The Immune System To Attack
The Trojan Horse is built out of nanoparticles that contain cancer RNA and coated by fatty acid membrane. These are injected into patients to signal a virus invasion, targeting specific immune cells.
The immune cells recognize the RNA embedded in the nanoparticles, which stimulate the production of cancer antigens. Finally, these antigens stimulate T-cells that attack the tumour cells en masse.
A Potential Cure-All for Cancer
If the tests prove the potential for a cure, the German research stated it will also become possible to create vaccines customized to treat all kinds of cancer. RNA can be encoded into any type of cancer antigen.
The research is led by German scientist Ugur Sahin, professor at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. Cancer experts and professors Jolanda de Vries and Carl Figdor commented on the progress of the research: "This nanomedicine platform may give a strong boost to the vaccine field, and the results of forthcoming clinical studies will be of great interest."
The Daily Mail reports the research could be the breakthrough in cancer treatment. Current therapies affect both cancer and healthy cells. Unfortunately, in treatments that target cancer cells, healthy cells can be considered collateral damage. Treatment options with minimal adverse effects have yet to be developed for clinical use.