Vaccine containing traces of a protein called telomerase is on trial in case of pancreatic cancer.
Telomerase is the enzyme responsible to keep up the ends of chromosomes, called telomere intact. Telomere is something like the ends of shoe lace. As telomere shortens by repeated cell division, telomerase tries to keep the length intact; a key to remain always young and cheat death.
So, if no telomerase for cancer cells, those will die shortly.
TeloVac pancreatic cancer vaccine trial launched in UK
A trial has begun on a vaccine treating pancreatic cancer, which has the lowest survival rate of all common cancers.
The vaccine contains small sections of a protein, telomerase, which is over-produced by cancer cells. The aim is to stimulate the immune system to recognise the telomerase which sits on the surface of the cancer cells and to target the tumour.
Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician Professor Peter Johnson said: “One of big problems with cancer treatment is you are almost always left with a few malignant cells and it is from those few cells that the cancer can regrow.
“If you can programme the immune system to recognise those cells and get rid of them altogether or keep them in check then you can effectively stop the cancer from growing back lifelong.”
The Phase III or final stage TeloVac trial should produce results in just over a year which will show whether the vaccine has a positive effect.