Stem Cells May Lead to Cancer Vaccine
Tests on Mice Suggest Vaccine for Lung Cancer Might Be Possible, but Long Way Off
Nov. 9, 2006 -- It might be possible to make a cancer vaccine using
embryonic stem cells, University of Louisville scientists report.
Their prediction is based on early lab tests on mice. No such vaccine exists
for humans yet.
But results from mouse tests suggest the "exciting possibility" that
embryonic stem cell vaccines might prevent cancer, write researcher John Eaton,
PhD, and colleagues.
Their findings were presented yesterday in Prague, Czech Republic, at a
joint symposium of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of
Cancer (EORTC), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the American
Association for Cancer Research (AACR).
"At present, all I can say is that so far it looks good, and that,
unless something unexpected happens, this strategy might someday be applied to
humans at high risk for development of cancer," Eaton says in an EORTC news
Eaton is a professor of medicine and pharmacology/toxicology and the Brown
Chair of Cancer Biology at the University of Louisville's medical school.
Eaton's team used embryonic stem cells taken from mouse embryos to make two
experimental vaccines against mouse lung cancer.
One of the vaccines contained only embryonic stem cells. The other vaccine
contained embryonic stem cells plus a growth factor to boost immune
The scientists split the test mice into three groups. One group of mice got
the vaccine containing only stem cells. A second group got the vaccine
containing both the stem cells and the growth factor. The third group got
The mice were then exposed to chemicals that cause lung cancer.
All of the unvaccinated mice developed the disease.
But only 40% of the mice that got the stem cell vaccine and 10% of those
that got the vaccine with both stem cells and growth factor developed lung
tumors during the 27-week study.
No drop was seen in the number of adult bone marrow stem cells in the mice,
according to the report.