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NK Cells May Form Adaptive Memories

Sep 10, 2019 10:10:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in NK Cells, Vaccine Research, Humanized Mice

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A new study shows that NK cells may be able to form adaptive memory and demonstrate specific antigen memory.

Innate immunity has long been considered the nonspecific first line of defense against an invading microorganism, while adaptive (or acquired) immunity is an antigen-specific immune response characterized by a memory that allows protection against a repeat exposure. Examples of cells of the innate immune response include natural killer (NK) cells, macrophages, neutrophils, and mast cells. T and B lymphocytes are cells of the adaptive immune system.

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Research on Universal Cancer Vaccine

Sep 17, 2018 10:13:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cancer, T Cells, Vaccine Research, Immunotherapy (Immunology)

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Researchers are hoping to develop a cancer vaccine to improve a patient’s immune system so they can destroy the cancer cells.

The objective of therapeutic cancer vaccines is to support and enhance a patient’s immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells while sparing surrounding normal cells. The first therapeutic immune cell–based cancer vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is Sipuleucel-T. Administration of this vaccine in patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer lead to an increase in overall survival. Boosting T-cell responses against antigens that cause a number of diseases has been approached by autologous transfer of dendritic cells. A pilot study was conducted using dendritic cells pulsed with tumor lysate from patients with ovarian cancer. Vaccination of the patients stimulated T-cell responses to the tumor antigen led to an increase in patient survival. 

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Brain Cancer Vaccine Could Improve Prognosis

Jul 30, 2018 10:18:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cancer, Dendritic Cells, Tumors, Vaccine Research, Immunotherapy (Immunology)

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Immunotherapy for glioblastoma has been considered an option for patients and extend life of patients.

Glioblastoma multiforme is an aggressive cancer of the brain or spinal cord that originates from astrocytes. Although this type of cancer is not age specific, it is diagnosed more often in older patients. Glioblastoma is very difficult to treat, and current options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, use of electrical fields (tumor treating fields), and targeted therapies to prevent tumor blood vessel formation. On average, people live for about 15 months after diagnosis despite receiving the standard treatments for glioblastoma.

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Personalized Vaccine Fights Ovarian Cancer

Jul 9, 2018 9:57:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Dendritic Cells, T Cells, Vaccine Research, Immunotherapy (Immunology)

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Ovarian cancer, while common, is challenging to treat, but a new study is looking into an immunotherapeutic approach using a vaccine from dendritic cells.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death overall in women, but is the leading cause of death due to cancer of the female reproductive system. Ovarian cancer continues to be a challenge to treat, remission is difficult to achieve, and recurrence is common. The treatment approaches used or being studied involve chemotherapy, targeted therapy (to limit damage to normal cells), and immunotherapy. The study of immunotherapeutic approaches is ongoing in order to limit adverse effects in patients and to spare normal tissue from the toxicity seen with chemotherapy. To this end, researchers recently studied an immunotherapeutic approach using a vaccine derived from dendritic cells.

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Dendritic Cell Cancer Vaccine in the Pipeline

Oct 6, 2016 9:40:31 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cancer, Dendritic Cells, Vaccine Research

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Autologous (patient-specific) immunotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia will soon be tested in Phase III clinical trials in patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow). Asterias (a regenerative medicine‒focused company) developed an autologous immunotherapy (AST-VAC1) designed to destroy tumor cells. AST-VAC1 immunotherapy is based on the use of a patient’s own dendritic cells to elicit immune system attack on telomerase. Telomerase is an enzyme that is expressed in stem cells and 95% of cancers, but it is rare or absent in normal adult cells.

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