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Wed, 19.02.2003
pte20030219019 Science/Technology, Health/Medicine
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Scientists closer to anti-cancer vaccine
Agent developed in Netherlands may be available in ten years

Leiden/Netherlands (pte019/19.02.2003/10:43) - As scientists around the world search for an effective vaccine against cancer, Andreea Ioan-Facsinay at the Medical Centre of the University of Leiden has come one step closer to achieving this goal.

In her experiments, Ioan-Facsinay joined proteins from tumor cells to antibodies and used these to treat the immune cells of mice. With these cells she then created a vaccine that proved effective in animal experiments. If these experiments continue to be successful, a vaccine against cancer could realistically become available in about ten years.

Research on cancer vaccines is being carried out in a variety of ways. The search is not easy, as cancer cells are created in the body and are either not detected by the immune system or only detected once it's too late. Ioan-Facsinay was able to solve this problem for many types of cancer. The vaccine created an immuno-reaction in mice that had cancer, and had a preventative effect in healthy mice. The vaccine can therefore be used for both cancer treatment and prevention, as pointed out by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research NWO, which funded the experiments.

Ioan-Facsinay is optimistic that her research will lead to the development of a cancer vaccine, but she remains realistic. Earliest experiments on humans can take place in two years. It will then take another eight years for the vaccine to become available on the market.

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