Fall is the beginning to cold and flu season, which is also the time our immune systems get a workout. Fortunately, our natural immunity is incredible with its capability to detect and eliminate invading infections. Wouldn’t it be amazing if a cancer treatment could do the same?
As a matter of fact, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) had exactly the same idea. Researchers 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 amounts of peptides (viral proteins) into tumors in mice, the immune cells were stimulated, shrank the tumors, and even stopped them from growing back.
The viral peptides used were from CMV (cytomegalovirus), a standard 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 says, “It’s one of the few immune responses that gets better as you get older.”
Immunotherapy like this also offers the potential for long-term protection, and initial research is revealing this to be the case with CMV peptide treatment. And even when mice were injected with new lung cancer cells after being cured, no new tumors began to develop. Similar outcomes were attained with different forms of cancer as well.
In addition to showing to be highly effective in the study, additional advantages that may be attained through CMV immunotherapy include:
- It will be more affordable and much less time-consuming to produce than other immunotherapy treatments
- Synthetic virus peptides could be produced simply and in large volumes
- Treatment doesn’t need to be customized for every single person or type of cancer
Dr. Schiller adds that this 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.”
While we excitedly await the results of upcoming clinical trials, Home Sweet Home In-Home Care’s St. Joseph, MI home health care experts are here to assist someone you love through cancer treatment and beyond with personalized home care services, such as:
- Preparing meals that are in line with any prescribed dietary plans, bearing in mind alterations in smell, taste, and appetite due to treatments
- Providing transportation and accompaniment to health care appointments, procedures and treatments
- Helping with household chores and laundry
- Running errands, including picking up prescriptions and groceries
- Serving as a friendly companion to brighten each day