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A new cancer vaccine?

We’ve just awarded funding to Dr Kristen Radford and her team at the University of Queensland to develop a new type of ‘cancer vaccine’, based on a special type of white blood cell.

“Our lab has found a rare type of specialised white blood cell, called a dendritic cell, that we think will help the immune system start fighting against cancer,” explains Dr Radford.

“Using these cells, we think we can develop a new cancer vaccine that will not require removal of patient blood. It should therefore be more practical and cost effective compared to current dendritic cell vaccines- and available to treat patients with a variety of cancer types.”

Dendritic cells have actually been administered as vaccines to cancer patients for over 15 years. They are safe and can induce anticancer immune responses. But because they must first be removed from patient blood and manipulated in the laboratory, they are expensive and not practical to produce.

Now the Radford lab think they can use a special ‘signature’ to help a vaccine identify and activate this new type of dendritic cell in the body, which would hugely simplify the process.

“We hope the results from this study will help provide justification to proceed to clinical trials in the future.” says Dr Radford.

See other work we are supporting developing a cancer vaccine for the Epstein-Barr virus.