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A new cancer vaccine

  • Researcher: Dr Kristen Radford
  • Institution: University of Queensland, Australia
  • Award Amount: £212,756 for 3 years from January 2015
  • Cancer Type: General Cancer Research
A new cancer vaccine
Dr Kristen Radford and her team have recently identified a special type of cell that could activate anticancer immune responses in the body. They now want to develop a new type of ‘cancer vaccine’ based on these cells. “We have 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. 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 they are also expensive and not practical to produce, because they must first be removed from patient blood and manipulated in the laboratory. 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. “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.” Says Dr Radford. “Importantly, as the vaccine will target only this special dendritic cell subtype, we predict it will be more effective at fighting cancer. We have developed an innovative laboratory model to be able to test this vaccine for the first time. We hope the results from this study will help provide justification to proceed to clinical trials in the future.”
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