A new hope for those suffering from cancer has recently surfaced. Scientists at Harvard University have developed an implant that may have just become the front runner in the long list of possible cancer treatments.
The miniature disk, only 8.5 millimeters in diameter, is filled with tumor-specific antigens and is placed under the skin in an attempt to reprogram the immune system. This reprogramming helps the body’s defenses recognize the cancer cells, which aren’t normally recognized as foreign. This allows the immune system T cells a chance to then find and eliminate tumor cells.
Unlike other vaccines that also focus on creating an immune attack, this treatment does not need to remove cells in order to reprogram them. This allows a much larger number of cells to survive, increasing effectiveness significantly.
Furthermore, this new treatment only targets the tumor cells. This means that unlike chemotherapy, there is no damage done to healthy tissue. Imagine a treatment that doesn’t leave the patient sick and looking like they could die right then and there. Instead, patients would be comfortable while being treated. Also, many of the researchers are hoping that because no healthy tissue is damaged, the chances of relapse will reduce drastically.