Scientists Discover a Vaccine That Targets Vimentin a Protein Implicated in Several Cancer Types

Previous studies by a certain research team show that malignant tumors can keep surviving in the body because they can block the body’s immune system, and receive nutrients from specific blood vessels to support their growth. The team noted that this is possible because of the presence of a certain protein.

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The protein, as they later discovered, facilitated the development of the specific blood vessels that fed the tumors, and it was responsible for hindering immune system function during the growth of these tumors. The presence of this protein – vimentin – is the brain behind this defense mechanism for cancerous tumors. This explains the reason for the prevalence of different cancer types including skin, brain, colorectal, bladder, and bone cancers.

Since the discovery of this protein, the team has been on further research to find a way to combat this protein. Recently, they developed a vaccine that hinders the production of this protein when tumor growth begins.

Read Also: Oregon State University Researchers Developing a Vaccine against Skin Cancer

A vaccine vs vimentin

Since identifying the cause of a problem is the first step toward finding the solution to it, the discovery of vimentin gave the team a clue as to their focus while researching further ways to fight cancer tumors.

The team recently developed a vaccine that works to stop the production of the protein that promotes tumor growth. They tested the vaccine on different lab animals that had different cancer types, and they observed that the vaccine worked well to treat the animals.

Their most recent test of the vaccine was on 35 dogs that had bladder cancer. They observed the animals for 400 days after injecting them with the vaccine. At the end of the test period, they discovered that half of the dogs survived while two fully recovered. To one of their older pet dogs that had bone cancer, they also administered the vaccine, and they observed that tumors were gone after treatment. The dog regained its health after a while.

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The researchers report that they have not seen any side effects from the use of the vaccine, so far, and that more testing is needed before it can be used on humans.

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 cancer soon enough. With a vaccine like this that targets the culprit behind tumor growth, doctors and patients might soon be able to overcome the health challenge posed by cancer.

Conclusion

This discovery has had a great impact in the world of medicine, as cancers have been one of the most challenging health conditions for both doctors and patients. Furthermore, the discovery promises to be a very important one as it uncovers the key to effectively tackling the disturbance caused by cancer from the roots.

Read Also: Messenger RNA Vaccines Offer New Hope for the Fight Against Cancer

References

Extracellular vimentin mimics VEGF and is a target for anti-angiogenic immunotherapy

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