A Look at Cancer Vaccines and How They Work

The professionals at RCC employ cutting-edge techniques to treat the disease of cancer, such as immunotherapy. An exciting form of cancer immunotherapy used at the Rubio Cancer Center is the use of custom vaccines. While people typically think of vaccines as preventative measures, they are now used to boost the immune system to target the invader cells and treat any form of the disease.

Cancer vaccines work by activating T cells, the body’s natural defenses, and training them to recognize the tumor present using the specific antibodies that it makes. To accomplish this, through the patients own blood we are able to isolate antigens and put them together in a petrie dish with the killer cells which then causes an immune response, including antibody production. Antibodies bind to the antigens present on the surface of tumor cells and direct the T cells to attack. In addition, T cells can recognize cancer antigens present inside tumor cells.

The FDA approved the first vaccine for cancer treatment in 2010. Called sipuleucel-T, or Provenge, the treatment can be used to treat some men who have metastatic prostate cancer by stimulating a response to the antigen prostatic acid phosphatase. This antigen is present on the majority of prostate cancer cells.

At Rubio Cancer Center we not only treat prostate cancer, but all types of cancer.

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