Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Scientists are closer to cracking a 'universal cancer vaccine'


Good news for those of us who are firmly in the ‘cancer is bad’ camp.

According to The Independent, Scientists have taken a “very positive step” towards creating a universal cancer vaccine that helps the body’s immune system to attack tumours as if they were a virus.

Writing in the scientific journal Nature, a team of researchers talked of how they had transferred pieces of cancer’s genetic RNA code into tiny nanoparticles of fat, and then injected the mixture into the bloodstreams of three advanced-stage patients.

Their immune systems responded by producing “killer” T-cells designed to attack cancer. They also found the vaccine to be effective in fighting “aggressively growing” tumours in mice.

The team, led by Professor Ugar Sahin from Johannes Gutenburg University in Germany, wrote: “[Such] vaccines are fast and inexpensive to produce, and virtually any tumour antigen [a protein attacked by the immune system] can be encoded by RNA,"

“Thus, the nanoparticulate RNA immunotherapy approach introduced here may be regarded as a universally applicable novel vaccine class for cancer immunotherapy.”

In one patient, a suspected lymph node tumour got smaller after a low dose of the vaccine was administered. Another patient, whose tumours had been surgically removed, remained cancer-free seven months after vaccination.

The third patient had eight tumours that had spread from skin cancer into their lungs. After the vaccine, these tumours remained “clinically stable”.

This, of course, is exciting news – especially because cancers concerning the lung, brain, neck and melanoma are notoriously difficult to treat. Being able to inject an effective treatment into a patient’s bloodstream could make treating these conditions a lot easier. The flu-like side effects produced by the new vaccine also pales in comparison to the sickness caused by chemotherapy.

The study is in its early days, but the advancements of immunotherapy are definitely cause for excitement.



The US government once tried to build an Iron-Man atomic heart


20 breathtaking images that show science in motion


Sir Bruce Forsyth has died aged 89

The legendary presenter has died aged 89

by Gary Ogden
18 Aug 2017

The biggest stereotype about men and sex is actually a load of rubbish

We've been wrong this whole time

by Gary Ogden
18 Aug 2017

Discover the words that became cool in the year you were born

Were you born in the year of booty calls or cybersex?

by Emily Reynolds
18 Aug 2017

This German town came up with a genius way of humiliating neo-Nazis

Is this the best possible way to deal with them?

by Alex Finnis
18 Aug 2017

Donald Trump’s lawyer: possibly not racist, definitely not intelligent

Oldest trick in the book

by Tom Victor
17 Aug 2017

The 10 worst cities in the world to live in 2017

To put your first-world problems into perspective

17 Aug 2017

We have some very, very good news about cheese

Cheese lovers, it's our time to shine

by Emily Reynolds
17 Aug 2017

Jurors refuse to work on Martin Shkreli's trial for the best reasons

He is *not* a popular man

by Emily Reynolds
17 Aug 2017

Apparently millennials hate boobs now - but what do we like instead?

These god damn millennials, eh

by Gary Ogden
17 Aug 2017

All the times Donald Trump has failed to condemn far-right extremists

This has gone on for some time

by Tom Victor
16 Aug 2017