Monday, November 13, 2006
Two new candidate cancer vaccines are making headlines today: one for breast cancer, one for kidney cancer. TroVax presents the immune system with 5T4, a surface protein uniquely found on most kidney cancer cells, and seems effective in stimulating an immune response against tumors. Another targets breast cancer's signature HER-2/neu overexpression for immune attack, and also seems to be effective in trials. Both of these vaccines, if successful, would be major progress.
HIV, which is pretty much The Big One when it comes to infectious diseases of public health concern, has proven astoundingly resistant to vaccine developers. Hopefully, a pair of candidate vaccines seems to be making progress where others have failed: a combined DNA vaccine presenting three HIV genes and a recombinant adenovirus serotype 5 (rAd5) vector seems to have illicited very strong immune responses in volunteers, which may indicate some immunity to infection. This would be bloody amazing.