'Personalised' Cancer Vaccines Show Promising Results, Reveal Scientists

Personalised cancer vaccinations could soon be on the cards, according to a new study.

A vaccine, which is designed to work on individual patients, has come one step closer to becoming reality after tests showed it successfully controlled aggressive tumours in mice.

It works by stimulating the body's immune system to identify and attack cancer cells, while healthy tissue is left unharmed.

Lead author of the study, Dr Ugur Sahin from Johannes Gutenburg University in Germany, said that the findings were "extremely exciting", especially because this could herald "the future of personalised medicine".

To test the vaccine, scientists injected mice with skin, breast and colon cancer, with strands of "messenger" RNA, which is a genetic molecule similar to DNA.

They found that the strands could stimulate the animals’ immune T-cells to seek out and destroy aggressive tumours.

“This novel insight indicates that most human cancers may be eligible for successful cancer immunotherapy," said Dr Sahin.

"However, every patient’s tumour possesses a unique set of mutations that must first be identified, which means that targeted vaccine approaches need to be individually tailored.”

“Our aim is to make truly personalised cancer immunotherapies affordable and broadly available,” he added.

Now, scientists have begun clinical testing on humans, with results expected later this year.

The findings of their latest study were published in the journal Nature.

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