Supercharging the mutation rate in cancer cells can create a powerful vaccine that is able to boost the effectiveness of immunotherapy, says a major new study. Scientists forced cancer cells in the lab to evolve much more rapidly than usual using a molecule called APOBEC3B, which is often used by tumours to drive rapid genetic change and drug resistance. These highly mutated cancer cells could be used to create a vaccine for each individual cancer type, which amplified the effects of immunotherapy – and cured mice with a variety of otherwise treatment-resistant tumours, showed the study published in the journal Nature Communications. “Our new study rather paradoxically takes advantage of a mechanism used by cancers to rapidly evolve and become resistant to chemotherapy, and instead makes them much more vulnerable to the effects of immunotherapy,” said study author Alan Melcher, Professor of Translational Immunotherapy at The Institute of Cancer Research, London. “We have supercharged genetic changes in cancer in order to create cancer vaccines, which are tailored to the genetic code of these tumours, and can boost the immune response against them,” Melcher said. The researchers first showed they could drive rapid genetic changes in human cancer cells in the… Read full this story
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