Peptide cancer vaccines and Peptide Inhibitors

peptide cancer vaccines

Researchers have developed two new peptide cancer vaccines and two peptide inhibitors. This effort if focused on making patients immune system fight cancer.

Using the immune system to fight cancer cells seems like a good solution. Recently I’ve reported about progress in the area. Currently there is only one cancer vaccine approved by the FDA. This vaccine called Provenge used in treating prostate cancer. This vaccine doesn’t cure the cancer but do help extend patients lives.

Peptide Cancer Vaccines and Inhibitors

Now researchers at Ohio state University have made progress in this area denoted immunotherapy. In two studies published in the journal Oncolmmunology the researchers describe their progress. The advance involve two receptors that promote cancer growth called HER-3 and IGF-1R.

IGF-1R a name that really rolls off the tongue. This receptor promotes cell growth and how fast cells mature and divide. This receptor is over expressed in breast, pancreatic and colon cancers. The HER-3 receptor have similar function and thought to be a key target to avoid issues with drug resistant cancers.

In animals testing the peptide cancer vaccines generated antibodies by the immune system. These antibodies hindered the cancer cells ability to reproduce. They helped to cause programmed cell death in the cancer cells. The antibodies also coaxed the body’s immune cells to directly target and kill the cancer cells.

The peptide inhibitors also worked in a similar fashion.By blocking the receptors on the cancer cells they stopped the cell division of the cancer cells. In a similar fashion they also made the cancer cells go though programed cell death, apoptosis. All these effects lead to stopping the growth of the cancer cells.

Combination of the peptide cancer vaccines and the inhibitor led to a greater effect in the animals. HER-3 vaccine and IGF-1R inhibitor together reduced the growth of the cancer by 60% compared to 30% alone. Combination of the therapies had great effects on all types of cancer cells tested.

Even though some of these test on cell cultures might not tell you the most about how it will work inside the body the concept is a promising one. The area of most usefulness is prevention of recurrence and in treating metastatic cancers. Since much of the work in these studies took place in cell cultures there is still ways to go until this treatment is ready for market. These peptide cancer vaccines and inhibitors show the importance  of knowledge of basic systems.

Image credit: AJ Cann via flickr.com in accordance with CC BY-SA 2.0