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Genetically-engineered Malaria Vaccine May be Used in Liver Cancer Immunotherapy

Mar 15, 2017     Email"> PrintText Size

Scientists have already created weakened strains of the malaria parasite that can be used as a live vaccine against the disease. Now, a research team led by Chen Xiaoping from Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences, has discovered that the attenuated malaria parasite vaccine may also play a role in immunotherapy for liver cancers. The related research results have been published online in the journal Oncotarget.

Malaria is an infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes and caused by protozoan parasites of the genus plasmodium.

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of liver cancer. It is also the fifth most common cause of cancer in humans. It occurs most commonly in countries where hepatitis B infections are common.

The treatment options for HCC are mainly surgical resection, thermal ablation, systemic chemotherapy and liver transplantation. The median survival from time of diagnosis is only about six months.

Previously, Chen's team demonstrated that malaria parasite infection can have an anti-tumor effect in mice. In this study, they vaccinated tumor-bearing mice and found that the vaccination dramatically inhibited tumor growth and prolonged the survival of the mice. They concluded that the attenuated vaccine may be applicable to tumor immunotherapy for patients with HCC.

Cancer immunotherapy is the use of the immune system to treat cancer. Immunotherapies can be categorized as active and passive. As an antigen, genetically-engineered malaria vaccine can activate the immune system and induce the system to attack the tumor cells in tumor-bearing mice. (CGTV)

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(Editor: CHEN Na)

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