The progressive advances in science have gradually led to the appearance of vaccines that have managed to eradicate in many areas of the planet diseaseI know that not many years ago they were killing thousands of people.
Thanks to these vaccines, we get our immune systeme have all artillery loaded for infection with a microorganism pathogen, but the problem comes when what we want to prevent is a disease that has not been caused by any external agent.
This is the case of cancer; which, as you know, is due to the uncontrolled division of our own cells. This makes it difficult to make vaccines, but what if we deceive our body and make it believe that we are under attack by a virus or any other infectious microbe? For this is precisely the basis of the recent research of a group of German scientists, who have taken a great step towards the elaboration of a universal vaccine against cancer.
What are dendritic cells?
This vaccine is mainly based on the activation of the dendritic cellsYes, so it is necessary to explain first what they consist of.
These cells are part of the innate immunity system of our organism and, although they are capable of phagocytize pathogens By themselves, their function is normally based onprocess antigens (part of the infectious agent that triggers the immune response), exposing them on their surface to be recognized by B and T lymphocytes, which are the ones that will trigger a further response powerful and specialized.
What is this universal vaccine against cancer?
This vaccine, which has been tested on mice, is based on the use of RNA nanoparticles, which simulate a viral infection, unleashing the immune response necessary to defend the body from this attack.
These nanoparticles are from what is known as RNA-lipoplexconsisting of RNA molecule wrapped in a lipid membrane, which simulates cell membranes, preventing it from being degraded after entering the body and promoting its absorcin by cells of the immune system.
When adjusting the electric load of these nanoparticles to make it slightly negative, it is achieved that they are attracted by the dendritic cells, which will absorb them easily thanks to the lipid membrane.
This lipoplex RNA will then be processed by dendritic cells, which will expose on its surface the specific antigen of the tumor, favoring that the rest of the immune system selectively acts against everything that resembles it and eliminates any tumor gap that it finds in its path.
According to these scientists, any protein antigen it can be contained in the RNA, so in this way vaccines can be designed against all kinds of cancers.
So far it has given very good results in mouse tumor models, and even in three patients with advanced melanoma, although it is too early to launch the bells on the fly and we will still have to wait a long time to have this great vaccine. The day that happens, science will have won one more battle with cancer, so hopefully soon.