A research team in Montreal has been busy developing a personalized anti-cancer vaccine that works in mice. At the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM), Marie-Claude Bourgeois-Daigneault and her team have modified viruses to make them specific to the cells of a tumour that can be attacked and destroyed.
Once in the patient’s body, these viruses—called oncolytic viruses—infect and destroy only the cancer cells without touching healthy cells. These viruses can stimulate the immune system to be better armed to recognize and kill malignant cells. This is what’s known as immunotherapy.
In a study published in Nature, the researchers have shown how they came to create an effective personalized vaccine by combining the oncolytic viruses with small synthetic molecules (peptides) specific to targeted cancer to fight the cancer epidemic.