A Vaccine That Defeats Cancerous Tumor’s Defenses Offers a New Path to Curing Cancer 

Cancer has been a thorn in the flesh of the medical sector for many years as scientists have been unable to come up with a cure for this deadly disease. One advantage these cells possess that makes them able to thrive and survive in the body for so long is that they are constantly dividing. Because they are abnormal cells, they do not respond to signals in the body indicating the time for their death. Another huge contributor to their ability to survive is the fact that they hide very well from immune cells – they are not detected by T cells and natural killer cells. This makes it easy for them to keep living, dividing, and spreading fast within the body.

Cancer News

Cancer News

Read Also: Cancer Treatment: p53, a Tumor Suppressing Gene, Stabilized by Spider Silk

This high survival rate of cancerous cells makes it difficult for cancer to be cured completely, rather it is only treated and managed. So far, the only existing procedures doctors adopt to treat this condition are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation treatment. Because of the high cost and risk involved with these procedures, many cancer patients do not survive long enough, hence, the increasing number of death cases caused by cancer.

Thankfully, scientists have not given up on their research to find better ways to treat cancer, including a cure, if possible. Recently, a team of researchers in affiliation with multiple institutions in the U.S. and one in Japan, have developed a vaccine that works to hinder various types of cancer cells from initiating their defense mechanism.

Cancer cells’ defense mechanism

When the body detects a growing tumor, the immune system is alerted immediately. T cells and natural killer cells of the immune system are sent to the site of the growing tumor to kill them. However, this is not the case with cancerous tumors: once the immune cells arrive at the site of the tumors, the tumors cleave to the proteins –  MICA and MICB – found on the surface of the immune cells – a process known as ‘shedding’ of the immune cells. The shedding of the immune cells by the tumors makes them able to be hidden and unable to be detected by the immune system, therefore, they keep surviving and dividing.

Read Also: Cancer Immunotherapy: The Cowpea Mosaic Virus Effective in Treating Cancer

Where the vaccine comes in

The researchers worked on mouse and rhesus macaque models while developing the vaccine. When they tested it on the animals, they observed that on administering the vaccine, the density of the proteins found on the surface of the immune cells was raised, and this prevented the tumors from being able to cleave to them, thereby, unable to initiate the shedding process. The researchers describe this process as “inciting protective immunity”. In summary, the vaccine stops the tumors from carrying out their defense mechanism. This would go a long way in aiding the innovation of better treatment procedures, and possibly a cure.

The researchers note that they have tested the vaccine on animals so far, and are in the process of clinically trying it on humans to ensure its safety.

Clinical significance

If the vaccine happens to be very effective and safe after the clinical trials on humans, then we might be able to say goodbye to the name, cancer, soon enough. With a vaccine like this that targets the key to the survival and dividing ability of cancerous cells, the world of medicine may soon be free from the effects of this thorn, cancer.

Read Also: Role of Mutated Tumor Suppressor Genes in Facilitating Cancer Cells Avoidance of the Immune System


This discovery is one of a kind! Cancer has been a prominent life-threatening disease for way too long. And to make matters worse, it has no clear cure. However, the revelation from this discovery may turn things around for the better in the world of medicine.


A vaccine targeting resistant tumours by dual T cell plus NK cell attack



Want to Stay Informed?

Join the Gilmore Health News Newsletter!

Want to live your best life?

Get the Gilmore Health Weekly newsletter for health tips, wellness updates and more.

By clicking "Subscribe," I agree to the Gilmore Health and . I also agree to receive emails from Gilmore Health and I understand that I may opt out of Gilmore Health subscriptions at any time.