Stanford researchers are on track to begin human trials of a potentially potent new drug against cancer by next year, it has been revealed.
The progress comes just two months after the groundbreaking study by Dr Irv Weissman, who developed an antibody that breaks down a cancer's defense mechanisms in the body, the New York Post reported.
AdvertisementA protein called CD47 tells the body not to "eat" the cancer, but the antibody developed by Dr Weissman blocks CD47 and frees up immune cells called macrophages - which can then engulf the deadly cells.
The new research shows the miraculous macrophages effectively act as intelligence gatherers for the body, pointing out cancerous cells to cancer-fighting "killer T" cells.
The T cells then "learn" to hunt down and attack the cancer, the researchers claimed.
The clinical implications of the process could be profound in the war on cancer.
When macrophages present "killer T" cells with a patient's cancer, the T cells become attuned to the unique molecular markers on the cancer.
This turns them into a personalized cancer vaccine.
The team of researchers at Stanford plan on starting a small 10-100 person phase I clinical human trial of the cancer therapy in 2014.