A vaccine treatment for people with leukaemia is to be tested on human patients for the first time soon.
Scientists have developed a drug which is designed to prevent the cancer reoccurring following chemotherapy or a bone marrow transplant.The treatment, which works by boosting the patient's own immune system, will be trialled in the next few months at King's College London.Researchers hope it could eventually be used to treat other types of cancer.
The first tests will be carried out on patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), the most common form of leukaemia in adults.
The vaccine is designed to identify and then attack any cancer cells which remain in the body once a patient has been treated, preventing a potential relapse.
Professor Farzin Farzaneh, professor of molecular medicine at King's College London, said: "This vaccine activates the body's own immune system against leukaemia to prevent it from reoccurring."The treatment effectively tricks the immune system into thinking the leukaemia cells are foreign cells even though they are the patient's own. The patient's immune system then destroys these cells."
It has taken 20 years to develop the treatment, funded by the Department of Health, the Leukaemia Research Fund (LRF) and the Elimination of Leukaemia Fund (ELF).
The vaccine is created by taking cells from the patient and genetically modifying them in a laboratory so they can track down and act on leukaemia cells. They are then reinserted in the patient.
(Copyright,the press association 2010)