Space & Innovation

New Breakthrough in Cancer Research Uses Patient's Own Immune System

Researchers hope it could revolutionize treating certain kinds of cancer.

A potentially major advancement in the treatment of tumors has been developed at the University College London.

Researchers there found certain "flags" on tumor cells that can be targeted by the patient's own immune system.

Patients could receive a specialized vaccine that would be used to fight the cancer itself. Called "the Achilles heel" of cancer cells, a new type of vaccine could "steer" the body's immune system to specifically target the disease.

One of the major hurdles in developing cancer vaccines has been that cancer cells are not identical -- they're a massive assortment of heavily mutated cells. But the researchers believe they may have found a specific protein that sticks out from the surface of cancer cells that identifies each one, making it targetable.

The findings were published in the latest edition of Science.

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