A Vaccine for Prostate Cancer May Be on the Horizon

January 17th, 2007 by | Category: Cancer

At this time there is no cure for prostate cancer and the treatments available have been known to have some extreme and unwanted side effects. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause serious bouts of nausea and vomiting, so much so that some patients won’t even consider them an option.

A radical prostatectomy can result in impotence from the removal of tissues surrounding the prostate gland. Cryotherapy can also result in impotence or erectile dysfunction from damage done to the nerve bundles responsible for the control and ability to maintain an erection.

Thousands and thousands of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, and for those lucky enough to undergo a successful form of treatment twenty percent of those men are at a high risk for recurrence. Based upon sheer statistics the outlook can appear pretty grim, but hope could be on the way in the not too distant future and not just for those men suffering from prostate cancer, but several other forms of cancer as well.

A vaccine is has been undergoing some phases of clinical testing and the results thus far seem pretty promising. The idea of the vaccine is not to cure cancer per say, but to slow its growth to the point where the patient can live with it, where it’s not an imminent threat.

The vaccine is designed to stimulate the patients own immune system to fight the cancer and slow the growth of the tumor or tumors. The vaccine would be a great treatment option for those who have undergone other treatments without the intended success. The cancer will be the specific target of the vaccine and will result in only those cells being destroyed. What this means for the patients is that there will be no side effects. There would be no damage to the healthy areas surrounding the tumor because only the tumor would be attacked, no impotence, no nausea, no erectile dysfunction, and no urinary incontinence. The only damage the patient will suffer is the damage the cancer has already done, this form of treatment would do nothing but help.

This could be a miracle not only for prostate cancer sufferers, but because the specific antigen targeted by this treatment –telomerase, is present in a wide variety of different cancers. If the vaccine proves to be as effective as researchers hope, this could lead to a universal cancer vaccine that could be used to treat malignant tumors of all kinds.

Though much research still needs to be performed, subjects in clinical studies have shown very positive effects from this treatment. The immune systems of men studied showed increased immune response, researchers also linked the vaccination to a reduction in tumor cells and participants in the study also showed a slow down in the increase of PSA levels in the blood (PSA level indicates the presence of cancerous cells in the bloodstream).

With proper government funding followed by father phases of clinical studies and research, a universal vaccine for cancer is not only within reach but closer than anyone imagined.

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