Cancer researchers in the U.K. say they have created a new vaccine that may ultimately offer a cure for certain types of cancer.
“This is huge. We could now have a vaccine that can target a tumor and kill it without damage to surrounding healthy tissues or cells,” Professor Lindy Durrant, head researcher at Nottingham University, told Express.co.uk. “In the short term, this could cure some patients with the disease and in the long term the jab could be used to prevent people developing it in the first place.”
Durrant said that the new vaccine “jab” will be tested on the first British patients within the next several weeks.
Previous research has indicated the jab can reverse and cure melanoma, a lethal form of skin cancer, according to Durrant.
An earlier version of the vaccine, created by vaccine company Scancell, was used to treat a 20-year-old woman, Amy Dickenson, when she was eight years old. Dickenson then had advanced bone cancer in her leg.
“The vaccine was amazing," Tina Dickenson, the girl's mother, told Express.co.uk. "It had no side effects and we believe it saved Amy."
Trials for the new vaccine are slated to begin in hospitals in Newcastle, Manchester and Nottingham. The vaccine will be given to both patients in the early and advanced stages of skin cancer, according to Durrant.
Durrant said that she thinks the vaccine, which contains DNA and fragments of tumor, could also be adapted to target other forms of cancer. The DNA and tumor pieces activate immune system cells, which are programmed to specifically seek out and destroy melanoma cells.
A treatment could be available within five to 10 years if the trials prove successful.