A new study in mice has shown that a transcription factor normally found in male germ cells could become a target for cancer vaccines, according to a report by HealthDay News.
Transcription factors are proteins that control the transfer of genetic material from the DNA to messenger RNA. The study's particular transcription faction, called the Brother of the Regulator of Imprinted Sites, or BORIS, promotes tumor growth.
A vaccine was developed from BORIS by scientists that showed effectiveness in helping to stop the spread of a breast cancer-like tumor to other parts of the body.
The vaccine, lead researcher Michael G. Agadjanyan, head of the department of immunology and a professor at the University of California - Irvine's Institute for Medicine, said in a press release, is capable of inducing strong and effective anti-tumor immunity, but the efficacy of this [strategy] could be even better if one could eliminate immune suppressor cells."
The value of a mutated virus was tested by researchers using the factor on mice with a form of cancer that was similar to human breast cancer. The vaccine was delivered into the mice bodies through immune cells known as dendritic cells. These cells' treelike branches form connections with other cells in the body.
Agadjanyan said that the factor delivered by dendritic cells "elicited strong antitumor cellular immune responses in tumor-free mice. More importantly, therapeutic vaccination dramatically inhibited both tumor growth and the number of metastases in the lungs of tumor-bearing mice."