Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Vaccination with embryonic stem cells prevents lung cancer in mice

Researchers in America have discovered that vaccinating mice with embryonic stem cells prevented lung cancer in those animals that had had cancer cells transplanted into them after the vaccination or that had been exposed to cancer-causing chemicals.

The findings suggest that it could be possible to develop embryonic stem cell vaccines that prevent cancers in humans, such as hereditary breast and colon cancer and lung cancer caused by smoking or other environmental factors.

Professor John Eaton told a news briefing at the EORTC-NCI-AACR [1] Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in Prague today (Wednesday 8 November): “We found that the vaccinations were between 80-100% effective in preventing tumour growth in mice that were subsequently challenged with transplanted Lewis lung carcinoma, and it was between 60-90% effective in mice subsequently exposed to carcinogens that cause lung cancer.

“Our results raise the exciting possibility of developing a prophylactic vaccine capable of preventing the appearance of various types of cancers in humans, especially those with hereditary, chronological or environmental predispositions to neoplastic disease.”

However, he warned that the work was still in its early stages and that people should not think that, for instance, they could start, or carry on, smoking because a vaccine to prevent lung cancer was just around the corner.

“Cancer has been prevented and even cured in mice hundreds of times. At present, all I can say is that so far it looks good, and that, unless something unexpected happens, this strategy might some day be applied to humans at high risk for development of cancer. The likelihood of this happening is more a question for the US Food and Drug Agency than for us. Given their stringent regulations I consider it quite likely that, by the time this is tried in humans, I will be pushing up daisies.”

Prof Eaton is the James Graham Brown Professor of Cancer Biology and Deputy Director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville, USA. He and his colleague, Dr Robert Mitchell, tested two different vaccines in the mice. One consisted of embryonic stem cells (ESC) only, obtained from mouse blastocysts (very early, pre-implantation embryos). The other vaccine consisted of the ESCs combined with cultured fibroblast cells producing GM-CSF, a growth factor usually made by white blood cells and blood vessel-lining endothelial cells, which “supercharges” the immune response and appears to enhance the vaccine-induced immunity to cancer.

Prof Eaton explained: “We needed a delivery vehicle for GM-CSF and chose STO fibroblasts because they are often used as a 'feeder layer' to maintain these particular mouse embryonic stem cells in their embryonic state. If we had used only ESCs expressing GM-CSF, they might have differentiated into non-embryonic cells, which, therefore, would not have worked as a vaccine.”

He and his team injected mice with ESCs alone or ESCs + STO/GM-CSF. In mice that had Lewis lung carcinoma transplanted into them afterwards, ESCs were 80% effective in preventing tumour growth and ESCs + STO/GM-CSF were 100% effective. In mice subsequently exposed to a carcinogen that causes lung cancer (3-methylcholanthrene followed by repetitive dosing with butylated hydroxytoluene), ESCs resulted in 60% of mice remaining tumour free after 27 weeks and ESC + STO/GM-CSF resulted in 90% remaining tumour free. Importantly, tumours arising in vaccinated mice were, on average, about 80-90% smaller than tumours in unvaccinated mice. All the unvaccinated mice developed tumours. None of the vaccinated mice developed autoimmune disease or a showed a significant decline in adult pluripotent bone marrow stem cells – both potential adverse responses to the vaccinations.

Prof Eaton said: “We think the results from the carcinogen-initiated cancers are probably the most important, as they are closer to the ‘real-life’ model of the development of cancer than just implanting cancer cells in an animal. We are studying several different types of carcinogen-induced mouse cancers (skin, colon, breast) to determine whether the preventative effect of vaccination extends beyond our models of lung cancer (although in our state of Kentucky with its high smoking rates, lung cancer alone would be a big victory). We may also vaccinate ageing rodents, the majority of which develop endocrine tumours in old age.

“In terms of human testing, if all goes well, then I think this vaccination might best be tested in women at high (genetic) risk of breast cancer, in people with high (genetic) risk of colon cancer and, perhaps, in smokers.

“Our progress over the next few years will depend, to a large extent, on whether we can attract significant funding. Our work is presently supported by a pilot grant from our cancer centre and a small grant from the Kentucky Lung Cancer Research Program. US federal funding agencies such as the NIH – notorious for funding predictable research – have been quite disinterested.”

[1]EORTC [European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer, NCI [National Cancer Institute], AACR [American Association for Cancer Research].

Emma Mason | alfa
Further information:

Further reports about: ESC Embryonic embryonic stem cell lung cancer prevent tumour vaccination

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>