The above image is that of a dendritic cell intreracting with T
cells, viewed through scanning EM (Ref 1). Ir represents the basis of a new therapy producing promising results in kidney cancer patients.
Dr. Kugler and his colleagues made their vaccine using a relatively new technique in which they fused cancer cells with a group of cells called dendritic cells that activate the infection fighting agents in the body's immune system. By fusing these cells with tumor cells, the researchers created a hybrid with all the specific markings of they tumor they wanted to target. Once the immune system attacks such a hybrid, it is primed to fight cells with the same markings anywhere in the body. So it can go after cancer cells that have spread from their initial location in the kidneys to other sites. (Ref 2
A primer on treating cancer with vaccine therapy.
Cancer Vaccine Net is a source for current information on emerging cancer treatments
An anti-cancer vaccine based on a Columbia chemist's synthetic carbohydrate molecule is undergoing clinical tests in 20 patients with early prostate cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Resistance to mandatory vaccination still remains however, as this story attests to.