Amsterdam UMC discovers possible new form of cancer therapy

The Amsterdam UMC may have developed a new way of fighting cancer. A hospital research team devised a vaccine that targets a specific protein in a tumor.

The research team tested the vaccine on 35 dogs with bladder cancer. After the treatment, the average survival of the four-legged friends doubled. In some cases the tumor disappeared completely, in other cases the tumor became smaller or stopped growing. The vaccine did not cause any side effects, the hospital said. “An important step towards a cancer vaccine for humans,” said researcher Arjan Griffioen.

In 2006, the research team found a protein that is only present in blood vessels of tumors. This protein creates new blood vessels in the tumor and switches off the immune system, so that immune cells in the body do not attack the tumor. By making the blood vessels and turning off the immune system, the tumor can grow faster.

Vaccine effective against multiple cancers

It turns out that the vaccine works in different types of cancer. “The vaccine proved effective in laboratory animals against colorectal cancer, skin cancer and brain tumors. And now also in spontaneous bladder cancer in dogs,” said Griffioen.

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