Dougherty Valley High SchoolClass of 2022
- A Comprehensive Look at Tumour Vaccines with mentor Alexandra (Sept. 13, 2021)
Aditii's Symposium Presentation
A Comprehensive Look at Tumour VaccinesStarted June 28, 2021
Abstract or project description
How do they work, why aren't they more prevalent, and what does their future hold? Cancer vaccines stand at the forefront of the latest medical innovations vying to eradicate the terrible aforementioned disease. In simple terms, they work by training the immune system to recognize antigens present on only/mostly tumour cells, using the body's own defense system to specifically attack its cancer. If successful, these vaccines could provide a simpler cancer treatment void of all the sickening side effects associated with broader treatments like chemotherapy. This burgeoning field of research has yielded a wide variety of vaccines that use different vectors to prime the immune system's T-cells, from DNA, RNA, and SLP to neoantigen and shared-antigen vaccines. An even newer subfield aims at reawakening endogenous retroviruses within the DNA of cancer patients to induce a viral mimicry response from the immune system. Despite the appeal of tumor vaccines, these modern innovations have run into many obstacles that significantly reduce their effectiveness. Their personalized nature also makes production an expensive and difficult process. While the field continues to advance, many have widened their views, experimenting with combining the vaccines with treatments that either have a broader scope or enhance the effect of the vaccine, like immune checkpoint inhibitors. Despite these difficulties, tumor vaccines are still a promising corner in the field of cancer research, and they are only bound to get better.