January 5, 2023
Cancer Vaccines, a new option for cancer treatment
Cancer diseases have the highest fatality rate among Thais. The number of cancer patients is increasing each year with a 90% cause of the disease arising from external factors and lifestyles that raise the risk of cancer. Certain food consumptions, stress, viral infections, smokes, consumption of alcohol are some of the factors. Cancer treatment has therefore been developed to boost its efficacy on patients while reducing the side effects of the drugs to be as low as possible.
Dr. Vigrom Jennetisin, medical oncologist at Vejthani Hospital explains that cancer treatment has been continuously developed. Especially in Thailand, “personalized cancer vaccine” has been designed to treat cancers that have already occurred. The treatment uses data from cancer mutations detected in patients and extract it for vaccine. The vaccine will then be injected to stimulate the immune system that are specific to mutations of certain cancers and enhance the efficiency in fighting against the disease as cancers mutate differently on each individual.
Personalized cancer vaccine begins by carrying out biopsy samples on the patient and decoding genetic codes to detect cancer cell mutations. The data is then used to produce cancer vaccines that will be injected back into the body. The vaccine will then stimulate white blood cells or T Cells for them to be familiarized with specific cancer mutations. The vaccine is also designed to delay or hinder the growth of cancer cells, reduces the size of malignant tumor, prevents the chance of cancer recurrence, or destroy cancer cells that were not killed by other treatment methods, such as surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. Cancer vaccine can be used in conjunction with other treatment options as follows to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment:
- Surgery is a conventional treatment method for cancer, especially for treatment in the early stage. This is because the tumor and the cancers are still located around the same area, makes it easier to completely eliminate cancers by surgical removal.
- Radiation Therapy uses a high-powered energy beam such as X-rays or radioactive waves that hinder the growth of cancer cells and kill the existing ones. However, there are limitations to this type of treatment, as there are few types of cancers that respond well to radiation therapy. It also has relatively low specificity which causes the surrounding tissues to be affected. Applying radiation therapy in a wide area could be a risk for cancer to develop in a new position that has been in contact with radiation.
- Chemotherapy has a low specificity. Although the chemicals have the power to destroy cancer cells, it also damages the healthy tissues. The side effect is that it creates discomfort in patients. Nevertheless, chemotherapy has its benefits that it spreads through the bloodstream causes the drug to have an effect on the body, makes it suitable for metastatic cancer that cannot detect precise location of the cancer or cannot entirely remove cancer cells by surgery.
- Hormonal therapy uses hormones or certain substances to suppress the growth of unwanted hormones as certain types of hormone may trigger the growth of cancer. This method is therefore safe and has less side effects but there are only a limited types of cancer that can be treated with hormonal therapy.
- Targeted therapy is a drug specifically designed to kill cancer cells that have mutated. Targeted therapy is particularly effective in patients with mutated cancer. Its side effects are not as severe as those of chemotherapy.
- Immunotherapy involves drugs or substances that have a stimulating effect on the immune system, causing the immune system to fight against cancer cells. This type of drug also reduces some immune functions.
Cancer treatment guidelines for each patient requires a medical multidisciplinary team to work together for patient’s well-being and to discover the most suitable approach that has positive results and has least side effects on patients.
For more information, please contact
Life Cancer Center Call: 02-734-0000 Ext. 272
English hotline: (+66) 8-522 38888
December 29, 2022
Multidisciplinary Team (MDT)
November 29, 2022