Scientists trial ‘cancer vaccine; that could be a game-changer for lung cancer patients
Early clinical trials from the Perth-based Antigen-Targeted Therapy Against Cancer (ATTAC) program could be a game-changer for lung cancer patients across the globe.
Professor Bruce Robinson, one of the team members from the Institute for Respiratory Health and the lead on the research project, said the team had developed a vaccine that when given to cancer patients ‘wakes up’ the body’s immune system and forces it to attack the cancer mutations that each cancer cell carries.
“Currently chemotherapy treatments attack both sick and healthy cells but our vaccine induces an attack that is more like a sniper, only targeting the dangerous, unhealthy cancer cells,” Professor Robinson said.
“It’s a safer form of cancer therapy with research results so far being promising, but it’s very early days.”
Martina MacGrath is one of the patients on the trial and was diagnosed with lung cancer in March last year.
“This vaccine could be a game-changer for me,” Ms MacGrath said.
“The vaccine is tailormade for each patient specifically and there are no unwanted side effects as it’s only attacking the cancer cells. It’s forcing my immune system to create a positive immune response.
“It gives me goosebumps and hope that we could have a lung cancer vaccine that could help save lives in the foreseeable future.
“I feel pretty lucky to have a front-row seat to this ground-breaking research as the ATTAC hub is right here in Perth and I’ve been consulted directly by the researchers.”
ATTAC is a collaborative project between the WA Department of Health, the National Centre for Asbestos-Related Diseases (NCARD) and the the Institute for Respiratory Health, SCGH and UWA.