Malaria vaccine may be key to general cancer cure
This discovery was made when the scientists vaccinated a pregnant woman against malaria. The vaccination showed that malaria proteins, when armed, can eliminate cancer.
"For decades, scientists have been searching for similarities between the growth of a placenta and a tumor,” Professor Ali Salanti from the Faculty of Medical Health and Sciences, the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Copenhagen, said. “The placenta is an organ, which within a few months grows from only few cells into an organ weighing approx. two pounds, and it provides the embryo with oxygen and nourishment in a relatively foreign environment. In a manner of speaking, tumors do much the same, they grow aggressively in a relatively foreign environment.”
The researchers found that manipulating the malaria parasite and cancer cells showed positive signs of eliminating the cancer.
"It appears that the malaria protein attaches itself to the tumor without any significant attachment to other tissue,” Thomas Mandel Clausen, a Ph.D. student, said. “And the mice that were given doses of protein and toxin showed far higher survival rates than the untreated mice. We have seen that three doses can arrest growth in a tumor and even make it shrink.”
The scientists plan to conduct tests with the vaccine on human subjects within the next four years.