The most deadly form of skin cancer , advanced melanoma can now be successfully treated by injecting patients with tumor proteins, say researchers according to a recent study .
Researchers studied what effect vaccinating patients with tumor antigens (called MAGE-3) might have on patients' immune cells, which are known as killer T-cells. It was found that injecting patients with the tumor antigens increased the amount of killer T-cells that can attack a tumor. However, results also showed that the killer T-cells mainly recognized tumor proteins not contained in the vaccine.
Most melanoma patients have detectable, tumor-specific T-cells in their blood and tumors, but these T-cells are not able to attack the tumor, and researchers say they are unclear as to why it happens . Researchers also say they are unclear why vaccination can cause tumors to regress, when tumor specific T-cells do not increase nearly as much as non-tumor specific T-cells.
In conclusion researchers say they believe that the few tumor specific T-cells that are stimulated by the vaccine may create an environment that somehow wakes up other T-cells to attack the tumor.