Fall is typically the start to cold and flu season, which is also the time our immune systems get a workout. Fortunately, our natural immunity is amazing with its capability to detect and destroy invading infections. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it could do the same with cancer? Actually, a new cancer treatment that does just that is in the works, with some surprising results.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) decided to test whether disguising cancer as a viral infection would cause the immune system to kick into gear, and the results were amazing. By injecting small bits of peptides (viral proteins) into tumors in mice, the immune cells were triggered, shrank the tumors, and even stopped them from growing back.
The viral peptides used were from CMV (cytomegalovirus), a common virus that is recognized by most people’s immune systems and normally does not cause any symptoms. Once someone is infected with CMV, it stays with them for a lifetime. And, as John Schiller, Ph.D. of NCI’s Center for Cancer Research said, “It’s one of the few immune responses that gets better as you get older.”
Immunotherapy such as this also offers the potential for long-term protection, and preliminary research is showing this to be the case with CMV peptide treatment. And even when mice were treated with new lung cancer cells after being cured, no new tumors evolved. Similar outcomes were achieved with various forms of cancer as well.
In addition to showing to be highly effective in the study, additional advantages that might be achieved through CMV immunotherapy include:
Treatment does not need to be customized for each individual person or type of cancer
Synthetic virus peptides can be produced simply and in large volumes
It will be more economical and much less time-consuming to create than other immunotherapy treatments
Dr. Schiller adds that this truly is a “simple, off-the-shelf product that you could even use in low-resource settings because it doesn’t require sophisticated molecular profiling of tumors.”
As we excitedly await the outcomes of upcoming clinical trials for this new cancer treatment, The Care Company is here to help someone you know through cancer treatment and beyond with individualized home care services, such as:
Providing transportation and accompaniment to doctor appointments, treatments, and procedures
Serving as a friendly companion to brighten every day
Helping with household chores and laundry
Preparing meals that align with any prescribed dietary plans while bearing in mind alterations in smell, taste, and appetite due to treatments
Running errands, such as picking up groceries and prescriptions