Research may be turning a corner, with many scientists predicting new cancer vaccines that would work within five years on breast, lung, ovarian, skin, and pancreatic cancers.
According to a recent Associated Press story by Carla K. Johnson, "these aren't traditional vaccines that prevent disease, but shots to shrink tumors and stop cancer from coming back."
|Dr. James L. Gulley|
Cancer vaccines, like other immunotherapies, boost the immune system to find and kill cancer cells. For a vaccine to work, the piece quotes Dr. Nora Disis of UW Medicine's Cancer Vaccine Institute in Seattle as saying, it needs to teach the immune system's T cells to recognize cancer as dangerous. "If you saw an activated T cell, it almost has feet. You can see it crawling through a blood vessel to get out into the tissues," she said.
Dr. Steve Lipkin, a medical geneticist at New York's Weill Cornell Medicine, also is quoted: "Vaccines are probably the next big thing. We're dedicating our lives to that."
More information about vaccines can be found in Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer, a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.