Brain cancer vaccine that ‘turns cells into killers’ is being developed | Tech News

Scientists are developing a vaccine that could both kill and prevent brain cancer by repurposing live tumor cells.

The promise of cancer vaccines has become one of the legacy of the COVID pandemic, and the companies developing them have turned to one of humanity’s greatest killers.

US biotech giant Moderna is working on a cure Same mRNA technology used in coronavirus vaccinewhile the developers of the German company BioNTech believe that the vaccine may be available within a decade.

Thanks to a similar approach to the production of AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine, a personalized vaccine made from an individual patient’s own DNA, Also produced “really promising” early results.

But scientists at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, are taking a different approach with their brain cancer vaccine, trying to turn the tumor cells themselves into cancer-fighting agents.

“Our team pursued a simple idea: to transform cancer cells into cancer killers and vaccines,” explains study author Khalid Shah.

“Using genetic engineering, we are repurposing cancer cells to develop a treatment that kills tumor cells and stimulates the immune system to destroy the primary tumor and prevent cancer.”

How does it work?

The appeal of using live tumor cells is that — a bit like homing pigeons — they travel long distances across the brain to return to where their fellow tumor cells were.

This means that by engineering living cells to release a tumor-killing agent, they can destroy other cells.

The engineered tumor cells are also designed to make it easier for the immune system to recognize and remember them, making them better at fighting cancer in the future.

These engineered cells were made using a gene-editing tool called CRISPR-Cas9, which has been used before Successfully alters faulty stretch of DNA in human embryos to prevent genetic disease.

The edited tumor cells were tested in an advanced mouse model of the deadly brain cancer glioblastoma and showed promising results.

The peer-reviewed study has been published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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