A “vaccination” made from your own stem cells may one day be used to prevent some of the most common forms of cancer tumors, new research has found.
The idea that using induced pluripotent stem cells – adult stem cells that can be reprogrammed to take on any form or function – could be used to prevent cancer isn’t a new one. The problem is that the body can only respond to a limited number of antigens from a vaccine at once.
So researchers at Stanford University came up with a theory: Use a patient’s own stem cells to develop a cancer vaccine, since those stem cells are more familiar to the body’s immune system.
In the study, the team used stem cells from mice to develop iPSCs, then used them to vaccinate the mice against several types of tumors. The mice’s immune system responded to the iPSCs antigens – and, because they were so similar to the antigens in cancer cells, the rodents basically were immunized against cancer.