Personalized Cancer Vaccines

This story is very encouraging.  CNN.com ran a story about brain cancer vaccines. Unlike traditional vaccines, these are not given to people prior to developing a disease, but after patients have developed brain cancer. In a nutshell, doctors create a personalized vaccine based on the DNA fingerprint of an individual’s cells. This allows the immune system to differentiate between healthy and “intruder” cells, and causes them to attack. Much like a smart bomb, the body can deliver a very precise assault on the cancer cells.  Although this therapy is only effective in 40% of cancer patients whose cancer cells produce a certain protein, it is very promising therapy. The article does state these trials are ongoing and the long-term effectiveness of the vaccine is still being studied. Similar vaccines are also being studied for use with prostate cancer patients. For more information, check the following link for the article and video.

Since myeloma cells also produce a specific protein, perhaps this type of therapy could also be developed for MM patients, not to mention for just about every cancer. This is a very promising and encouraging therapy. Hell, I might just make it to my retirement after all.