Fall is the start to cold and flu season, which is also the time our immune systems get a workout. Fortunately, our natural immunity is extraordinary with its capability to identify and eradicate invading infections. Wouldn’t it be amazing if it could do the same with cancer? With cancer immunotherapy, it could be possible.
As a matter of fact, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) had the same thought. Scientists decided to test whether disguising cancer as a viral infection would coax the immune system to kick into gear, and the results were spectacular. By injecting small amounts of peptides (viral proteins) into tumors in mice, the immune cells were activated, shrank the tumors, and even stopped them from growing back.
The viral peptides used were from CMV (cytomegalovirus), a standard virus which is recognized by most people’s immune systems and usually doesn’t cause any symptoms. Once someone is infected with CMV, it stays with them for a lifetime. And, as John Schiller, Ph.D. of NCI’s Center for Cancer Research says, “It’s one of the few immune responses that gets better as you get older.”
Cancer immunotherapy such as this also offers the potential for long-term protection, and preliminary research is showing this to be the case with CMV peptide treatment. And even when mice were injected with new lung cancer cells after being cured, no new tumors developed. Similar outcomes were achieved with various types of cancer as well.
Besides showing to be highly effective in the study, additional advantages that might be attained through CMV immunotherapy include:
- It will likely be more affordable and much less time-consuming to create than many other immunotherapy treatments.
- Treatment does not need to be customized for every single person or type of cancer.
- Synthetic virus peptides can be produced simply and in large volumes.
Dr. Schiller adds that this is a “simple, off-the-shelf product that you could even use in low-resource settings because it doesn’t require sophisticated molecular profiling of tumors.”
While we excitedly await the outcomes of upcoming clinical trials, Golden Harmony, provider of compassionate in-home care in Raleigh and the surrounding areas, is here to help someone you love through cancer treatment and beyond with personalized home care services, such as:
- Preparing meals that are in line with any prescribed dietary plans , keeping in mind potential alterations in smell, taste, and appetite.
- Providing transportation and accompaniment to health care appointments, procedures, and treatments.
- Serving as a friendly companion to brighten each day.
- Helping with household chores and laundry.
- Running errands, including picking up groceries and prescriptions.
Reach out to us at 919-426-7522 for a no-cost consultation for additional details on our in-home care in Raleigh and the neighboring communities. With our professional services, you will gain the peace of mind of knowing you have a highly skilled caregiving partner by your side.