The world invests billions and billions of dollars in search for the ultimate cure for cancer. Unfortunately, this fatal disease comes in many forms. Given its ability to multiply tremendously in a short span of time, developing a single treatment that will completely eliminate cancer cells for good is still beyond reach.

But, a recent study published in Cell journal may lead to a vaccine that will cure a number of cancers, with malignant mesothelioma – a rare, and aggressive form of cancer in the lining of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos – included.

A Stem Cell Vaccine May Prevent New Mesothelioma Tumors

Instead of ambitiously developing an ultimate cancer treatment, researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine tested a new stem cell vaccine primarily composed of pluripotent stem cells (iPS).

The study details the anti-tumor responses to the vaccine in a group of cancer-infected live mice. The vaccine is tested effective in the animals in subject, offering a new hope in the enduring search for cancer treatment.

The iPS cells are cells derived from the skin or blood cells and reprogrammed back to its embryonic-like state. The results are like immature cells that can be coaxed to assume any type of tissue in the body required for the treatment. “These cells, as a component of our proposed vaccine, have strong immunogenic properties that provoke a system-wide, cancer-specific immune response,” lead study author Nigel Kooreman, MD wrote. “We believe this approach has exciting clinical potential.”

In the article, the researchers further explained that these cells greatly resemble cancer cells. This property makes them essential in triggering the immune system to attack tumors and prevent new ones from forming.

Although rare, mesothelioma is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer that is resistant to treatments. A lot of people diagnosed with this asbestos-caused disease do not survive for more than 2 years, but this new vaccine is hoped to change that.

Read the full study here.

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