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Experimental Vaccine Raises Hopes for Prostate Cancer Treatments

by Kamal Salar

Scientists in the United States have been successful in developing a new vaccine that is expected to help in preventing the spreading of prostate cancer among the men who are at high risk. The experimental vaccine would be a basis for developing new treatments in near future, believe the scientists.

A “watchful waiting” is generally preferred by the physician across the world in case of men who indicating the increasing levels of specific antigens that are the blood markers for prostate. These men however, do not show any symptoms of prostate cancer. No specific treatment is prescribed for such type of probable patients until they show the verified symptoms of the prostate cancer.

Dr. Martin Kast, at the ‘University of Southern California’ in Los Angeles, and other co-researchers believe that the day is not far when such men, the probable prostate cancer patients, would also be vaccinated properly so that they will be safe from any future risks of the development of prostate cancer. Findings of this research study have been published in the journal “Cancer Research”.

Researchers have designed this experimental vaccine with an objective of igniting an immune system response. It will put the system against a particular protein, the ‘prostate stem cell antigen’. This protein is directly associated with the process of development of prostate cancer.

Experiments were conducted on mice. These mice were bred and made akin to develop the prostate cancer. Almost 50% of the mice with 8 week’s age and prostate cancer were given the vaccination and a booster vaccination after two weeks. Rests 50% of the mice were not given any vaccination though they had prostate cancer.

Researchers could observe that after a period of one year, the mice that got vaccination were still alive but the remaining one could not survive the prostate cancer. The vaccination caused the development of small tumors in the mice and these tumors did not advance further. Some tiny nodules of prostate cancer surrounded by the millions of immune system cells were also observed in these mice. “The vaccination turned the cancer into a chronic, manageable disease”, said Dr. Kast.

Scientists believe that the further research in this direction will definitely help in managing the prostate cancer problem in near future.

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