I am on a plane heading to speak to a multiple myeloma support group meeting today in Jackson, Mississippi. I just completed reading a series of articles in the last issue of Cure Magazine about the future of using cancer vaccines to fight cancer.

Magazine editor, Debu Tripathy, introduced the concept in his page 11 Message From the Editor. He began by stating “Cancer vaccines are no longer a long shot.” Followig a long and technically detailed explanation of the challenges facing researchers in the field, Dr. Tripathy states: The main step to devise successful cancer vaccines has been to find cancer-specific targets–proteins or other substances that would single out cancer cells. However, since some cancercells originate from normal cells, it is nearly impossible to develop a tqarget that is not ‘self.’ So the next barrier is to delicately maneuver the feedback mechanisms to allow a vigorous immune reaction to cancer cells.”

His conclusion: “While the effectiveness of the immune response will always be the limiting factor, finding the right timing and the right target using the right agent is becoming more likely than the long shot it once was.”

How might this work? In an article I found later in the same magazine,about using viruses against kidney cancer, Katy Human wrote: “They surgically rmoved patients’ tumors, sent samples away for processing, and then re-injected cancer-specific proteins back into the patient. They were trying to activate the patients’ own immune system cels, train them to recognize cancer as an invader and fight it off.”

Simple! Why didn’t I think of that? Does it work? Researchers using the concept are concentrating and experimenting on a wide variety of solid tumor and blood cancers. Stay tuned for updates.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat

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