How does immunotherapy against cancer work?

Part 2: vaccine-based immunotherapy

Diana Campillo Davó · 14-01-2021 10:00 · CEBE answers

In the first blog entry about cancer immunotherapy, I guided you through the ins and outs of how our own immune system can help us fight cancer and the strategies that are used to help and improve this system in that fight. In this second entry, I am going to explain vaccines based on tumor proteins and those vaccines used against cancer-related viruses.

But before we start, what is a vaccine? According to the World Health Organization, a vaccine is:

“any preparation intended for generating immunity against a disease by stimulation of antibody production. For example, this may be a suspension of dead or attenuated microorganisms, or products or derivatives from microorganisms. The most common method to administer vaccines is by injection, although some may be administered orally or by using a nasal spray”.

And, how is this applied to cancer? First of all, there are two main types of cancer vaccines, those that help prevent it and those that help treat it once it has appeared. Vaccines that help prevent cancer generally focus on training the immune system to recognize viruses that cause certain types of tumors. Therefore, there are vaccines against human papillomavirus, which may cause anal or cervical cancer, or hepatitis C virus, which may lead to hepatic cancer. Similarly to vaccines that are used to treat infectious diseases, this type of vaccines is based on an antigen that is part of the structure of the virus. As explained in the previous blog entry, an antigen is a molecule that is able to promote an immune reaction. However, since the antigen in the vaccine is only a part of the virus, it cannot infect anymore. Thus, after an individual is vaccinated with these viral antigens, the immune system of that person can recognize them and “memorizes” that information. By doing so, when our immune system encounters the real virus, it can rapidly react thanks to the information it previously stored, thus eliminating the virus. However, a problem of this type of vaccines is the large amount of different populations of a same virus, which may have variations in the antigens they carry. Something similar occurs with the flu vaccine, which must be reformulated from time to time to adapt to these antigen changes.

With regard to vaccines based on tumor antigens, they are generally based on proteins that are only or mainly found in tumor cells. These proteins, or small pieces of them called peptides, are used in a similar way as the antigens in vaccines against cancer-related viruses: they would train the immune system to recognize molecules that are usually present in the tumor so that it can react against them whenever our immune system encounters those same molecules in a cancer cell.

An alternative to this form of vaccine relies on dendritic cells, a highly specialized kind of immune cells. These cells are in charge or “presenting” foreign objects or molecules to other components of the immune system, such as lymphocytes, the cells that we described in the previous entry. In cancer treatment, cells that can differentiate into dendritic cells are isolated from a cancer patient, loaded with cancer antigens (either by exogenously adding the peptides or by genetic modification to endogenously express the protein), and administered to the patient. Therefore, dendritic cells train the immune system to recognize that tumor-associated protein as “foreign” and to induce an immune response to it. The main challenge with this form of therapy is to find the proteins that are expressed in tumor cells but not in healthy cells. Our immune system is trained to “ignore” cellular components that are part of our own body, which include proteins that, in spite of being mostly expressed in tumor cells, are also expressed in healthy tissues. Thus, when we use those self-antigens in cancer immunotherapy, it is possible that our organism does not identify them as foreign.

To improve the efficacy of this type of immunotherapy, cancer vaccines are administered in combination with adjuvants. Adjuvants are compounds that stimulate the immune system and improve the quality and duration of an immune response to an antigen. Although other forms of immunotherapy may be more popular to cancer vaccines nowadays, they remain an important and helpful strategy to wake up and alert our body to the presence of tumor cells.

Comments

Сериал Мисс Марвел 1 сезон 1,2 серия LostFilm смотреть <a href="http://bit.ly/ms-marvel-1-8-seriya">Мисс Марвел (мини–сериал 2022). Ms. Marvel.</a> Сериал Мисс Марвел 1 сезон смотреть онлайн все серии подряд в хорошем качестве hd 1080

ms-marvelciull , 26 May 2022

Сериал Мисс Марвел смотреть онлайн бесплатно все серии <a href="http://bit.ly/ms-marvel-1-8-seriya">Сериал Мисс Марвел смотреть онлайн бесплатно</a> Посмотреть сериал Мисс Марвел 1 сезон 1 серия онлайн

ms-marvelummpc , 26 May 2022

По 1 каналу около часа ночи <a href="https://bit.ly/FILMFILMFILM">фильм</a> показывали про беременность и роды довольно

ms-marvelkqnyc , 29 May 2022

Фильм смотрите бесплатно на Filmix. <a href="http://bit.ly/2S6kXL4">Сделано в Италии фильм</a> Фильмы смотреть онлайн скачать.

60177609 23265501 80364286501 86351270779976121289

72746366 21025242 389889386754 39977422479792651640

77465882 32899509 742889798880 93492486291415453430

ms-marveleteps , 03 Jun 2022

Смотреть онлайн - 4K Video <a href="http://bit.ly/eng-eng">Три билборда на границе Эббинга Миссури смотреть онлайн</a> Смотреть Фильм онлайн без регистрации, бесплатно.

43146782 47214238 770488605016 96039235256115478241

56122422 20368223 69310071282 2491200025662379555

84939119 12903145 679242235656 56885330115214459870

ms-marveluulfq , 04 Jun 2022

chat en vivo gay
gay teens chat
<a href="https://free-gay-sex-chat.com/">gay chat avenue#1 </a>

DeeynKlmr , 15 Sep 2022

gay men snap chat
<a href=https://chatcongays.com>dubuque gay guys chat</a>
gay men chat roon 91764

GennieKlmr , 16 Sep 2022

admission essay writing service
<a href=https://au-bestessays.org>looking for someone to write my essay</a>
urgent essay help

MarrisKlmr , 20 Sep 2022

who will write my essay for me
<a href=https://bestcampusessays.com>cheap custom essay</a>
buy an essay cheap

DorolisaKlmr , 21 Sep 2022

top essay writing services
<a href=https://besteasyessays.org>pay to write my essay</a>
please write my essay for me

MartyKlmr , 22 Sep 2022

help writing college application essay
<a href=https://bestessayreviews.net>help writing essays for scholarships</a>
cheap essay writer service

MerolaKlmr , 22 Sep 2022

best essay writing website
<a href=https://bestessaysden.com>online essay writing services</a>
buy custom essay

AshlenKlmr , 23 Sep 2022

helping others essay
<a href=https://bestsessays.org>help with essay papers</a>
write my essay affordable

CharitaKlmr , 25 Sep 2022

buy essay online for cheap
<a href=https://buyacademicessay.com>online essay writing service review</a>
help in writing an essay

NaniceKlmr , 26 Sep 2022

english essay writing help
<a href=https://buy-eessay-online.com>help me write my essay</a>
essay writing help online

ChelsaeKlmr , 26 Sep 2022

help with writing essay
<a href=https://buytopessays.com>custom essay UK</a>
essay writing service legal

PennyKlmr , 27 Sep 2022

KeyWord
<a href=https://customcollegeessays.net>essay writing help for high school students</a>
write my essays

AntonieKlmr , 29 Sep 2022

write my essay reviews
<a href=https://customessays-writing.org>buy cheap essay</a>
hire essay writer

RhiamonKlmr , 30 Sep 2022

write my social work essay
<a href=https://customessaywwriting.com>do my essay for me cheap</a>
custom essays service

CharoKlmr , 01 Oct 2022

essay writing services for cheap
<a href=https://customs-essays-writing.org>custom law essays</a>
essay community service

DronaKlmr , 01 Oct 2022

essay help forum
<a href=https://firstessayservice.net>best essay writing service</a>
need help writing an essay

TwylaKlmr , 02 Oct 2022

us essay writers
<a href=https://howtobuyanessay.com>the help by kathryn stockett essay</a>
mba admission essay writing service

CthrineKlmr , 04 Oct 2022

buy essay papers
<a href=https://lawessayhelpinlondon.com>essay about helping others</a>
best online essay writers

GinnieKlmr , 09 Oct 2022

custome essay
<a href=https://ukessayservice.net>best article writing service</a>
cheap custom essay writing services

VivieneKlmr , 12 Oct 2022

buy essays cheap
<a href=https://writemyessaycheap24h.com>essay writing services usa</a>
professional essay writing services

EasterKlmr , 13 Oct 2022

order essay online cheap
<a href=https://bestcampusessays.com>essay writing on customer service</a>
buy cheap essay online

DorolisaKlmr , 19 Nov 2022

best custom essay site
<a href=https://besteasyessays.org>Who wants to write my essay</a>
good essay writing service

MartyKlmr , 20 Nov 2022

professional essay writers review
<a href=https://bestessayreviews.net>best custom essay writing service</a>
custom essays review

MerolaKlmr , 22 Nov 2022

college application essay help
<a href=https://bestessaysden.com>essay writers needed</a>
buy pre written essays

AshlenKlmr , 23 Nov 2022

help essay 123
<a href=https://bestsessays.org>admissions essay help</a>
college essay writing service reviews

CharitaKlmr , 24 Nov 2022

order cheap essay online
<a href=https://buyacademicessay.com>best essay writing service canada</a>
essay help chat room

NaniceKlmr , 26 Nov 2022

help with writing essays at university
<a href=https://buytopessays.com>essay writer service review</a>
write my essay generator

PennyKlmr , 29 Nov 2022

Leave a comment


Collaborative partners

This blog is supported by the Arts and Culture section of the Spanish Embassy in Belgium and by the Brussels section of the “Instituto Cervantes”, under the SciComm initiative #SPreadScience.

Instituto Cervantes Arts and Culture section of the Spanish Embassy

Disclaimer: The content of each post in “A Spoonful Of Science” is the responsibility of the corresponding author(s). Therefore, the viewpoints expressed on the blog are those of the author(s) of each post, which do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints, thoughts and opinions of CEBE members and representatives.

Would you like to send us a question?

“Do you have a burning question that you would like a scientist to answer? Or a topic you would like to learn about? Send it to us!”

Categories

Science Chronicles (19 Blogs)
CEBE answers (13 Blogs)
Gender equality in science (7 Blogs)
Winners "Your research in one image or 1000 words" - 1st Edition (7 Blogs)
Webinars (5 Blogs)
CEBE's online events (1 Blogs)