Could this change cancer treatment forever?

Thursday’s Daily Telegraph has reported that a new universal cancer vaccine is on the horizon. With one in three of us expected to get cancer, this is big news.

The study it’s reporting on, published originally in Nature, has found that by rewiring immune cells to fight a particular cancer, we could completely change how we treat these diseases. The study has looked at programming genetic code to spot cancer and using the profile of a tumour to make a custom-made vaccine that will fight the disease and prevent it ever returning.

The work that these scientists are doing has the potential to change what a cancer diagnosis means to people. Much larger trials are needed to further test it and its suitability across a range of cancers, but the potential seems to be there. It is by no means the first ‘silver bullet’ story for cancer to appear in a national newspaper, but its coverage in such a prestigious science journal as Nature is significant.

The latest evidence and breakthroughs in cancer science are common topics of discussion in our cancer communities in HealthUnlocked. Stories like this are discussed, analysed and dissected by people living with cancer and those caring for them. We have around 50 online communities dedicated to cancer, where people can come to to get information, support and speak to others going through a similar experience.

Each person’s cancer experience is different, but our research has found this form of peer to peer support, alongside their medical treatment, can help many people navigate a difficult time in their life. We are currently preparing a formal study to examine exactly how the peer support impacts on personal outcomes in a range of diseases including cancer. We will update you further on this in future blogs. 

Dr Matt Jameson Evans
Chief Medical Officer HealthUnlocked

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