Scientists of N. N. Petrov National Medical Research Center of Oncology have developed a unique technology for creating antitumor vaccines based on immune system cells. These drugs can be effective even in terminal cases of cancer. The patent for the last of the components was received in 2021. Now the technology is being prepared for licensing, after which it will be used to save patients.
Over the creation of drugs that can effectively destroy the cells of malignant tumors without damaging healthy organs, scientists have been struggling for a long time. The vaccines developed at the National Medical Research Center of Oncology are just such a medicine. They are made on the basis of dendritic cells (leukocytes specialized in antigen presentation, necessary for the formation of the body’s T-cell response to infections and tumors – ed. ). To create a vaccine, scientists take the blood of the exact patient for whom the drug is intended, process it in a special way, training it on nine cancer cultures, and then inject it into the patient. If the body responds to the drug (this happens in 40% of cases), then the immune system begins to recognize tumor cells and destroy them. The results are amazing.
“Cancer patients need different methods of treatment,” explains Irina Baldueva, one of the creators of the dendritic vaccine, head of the scientific department of oncoimmunology at the N. N. Petrov National Medical Research Center. – This includes radiation, targeted, radio, chemotherapy, surgical interventions, and immunotherapy. An antitumor vaccine is one type of immunological treatment.”
Work on its creation began in 2010, but then it was impossible to obtain a license due to restrictions in the law. Conditions changed only in 2016, and scientists began to refine their offspring. The Russian Science Foundation supported the work of the staff of the National Medical Research Center of Oncology and gave them grant 22-25-00723* to continue promising research.
800 lives saved
So far, the vaccine has only been used to treat patients in the terminal stages of the disease. It happens that the patient’s body does not respond to any of the methods of treatment – cancer literally devours it. Or the diagnosis was made too late, and metastases affected many organs. It also happens that malignant cells mutate, and well-known drugs cease to act on them. In all these situations, the result is the same: conservative methods of treatment become powerless. Previously, it was impossible to save such patients. Antitumor vaccines have seriously changed the alignment.
As Irina Baldueva said, among those who were given a vaccine based on dendritic cells, there is a person who died of melanoma and soft tissue sarcoma. The 55-year-old Petersburger at that time was declared inoperable, it seemed impossible to save him. The vaccine helped. In total, he had to receive it 41 times, but in the end the disease receded. For 15 years now, the man has been living in stable remission, for the last 4 years he has not even had signs of illness.
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