Every cancer is different, so why should therapy be one? Personalized medicine is the new frontier in immunotherapy and aims at targeting tumour specific mutations, which differ between patients. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania developed a personalized vaccine against ovarian cancer, which is safe and induces a broad antitumor immunity. Further clinical investigations are required to assess the efficacy of such vaccine: in the meantime, aren’t you curious to find out which strategy they used?
Stem cells represent a hope for the cure of many diseases, as they can proliferate almost indefinitely and differentiate into many other cell types. Replacement of defective cells and repair of damaged organs or tissues may be closer than ever. However, there are also some stem cells to be afraid of. Cancer stem cells are the “fuel” of cancer: they are responsible for its progression, regeneration and resistance to therapies.
We are used to considering viruses as enemies, tending to forget the multitude of their other applications in biotechnology and biomedicine. For one thing, did you know that viruses could be weapons against cancer cells? In fact, that is precisely what oncolytic viruses are used for. Moreover, a review recently published on Nature Immunology explores their possible combination with other anti-neoplastic agents and especially with cancer immunotherapy. Viruses and immune system: two sworn enemies that somehow work “together” against tumour cells.
Obesity is a major risk factor for cancer as it both feeds tumors and weakens the immune system. It also increases toxicities of immunotherapy treatments. It is hard to imagine that anything good could ever come from obesity. Yet a new research published on Nature Medicine suggests that obese patients respond better than others to immunotherapy. What is behind this paradoxical effect?