UK scientists have developed a revolutionary vaccine for cancer that triggers the body's immune system to destroy and shrink tumors. The vaccine is expected to be available within three years.
The vaccine has shown remarkable results in clinical trials, leading to hopes that this could be the answer for the tens of thousands of people that are afflicted by cancer each year.
In one patient who had been given the vaccine the tumor was seen to have disappeared for over six months. Two other patients have seen shrinking of their tumors while in three others the cancer has been halted in its tracks.
The researchers said results were "exciting" and "very encouraging".
Oxford BioMedica is the British company that is behind this vaccine which is initially hoped to serve as a treatment for kidney and bowel cancer. Subsequently this vaccine could be beneficial in the treatment of other forms of cancer as well.
It is said that to date 150 patients have been administered the vaccine and 95 per cent of those that can be evaluated have had an "anti-tumour response". If further trials prove successful, the vaccine could be licensed for use against kidney cancer within three years.
Experts have claimed that the data appears to indicate that "gene therapy" vaccine could prove an effective treatment for a whole range of cancers. The new vaccine, TroVax works in a way totally different from existing treatments by harnessing the patient's own immune system to fight the disease.
Data from a trial involving 34 people with kidney cancer that is renal cell carcinoma was revealed at a medical conference in Prague from the Phase II trial, in which these people had the vaccine on its own or in combination with other standard treatments.
According to doctors renal cell carcinoma is a particularly aggressive form of kidney cancer accounting for over 80 per cent of the 6,000 cases of kidney cancer diagnosed each year in the UK and causing a death toll of 3,400 lives annually.
One patient among the 18 patients given the treatment along with a drug called interleukin-2 saw his tumor totally disappear. Two other patients have seen shrinking of their tumors. In three other patients the disease has been stable for more than three months with one patient finding his disease has halted for more than 46 weeks.
However the vaccine appeared to work only for the "clear cell renal cell carcinoma" type of kidney cancer. However for those suffering from "papillary renal cell carcinoma" no response was seen to the treatment during the trials.