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Researchers find potential target for liver cancer vaccine • healthcare-in-europe.com

The development of cancer vaccines relies on the immune system’s ability to recognize foreign molecules that are not part of the body. Mutations in cancer cells generate foreign peptides that alert the immune system. However, the challenge lies with cancers that have low mutation rates, such as liver cancer. Studying microproteins, which were previously difficult to detect, offers an alternative. “This study shows that there is a significant number of microproteins exclusively expressed in tumor cells that could be used to develop new treatments”, explains Marta Espinosa Camarena, a researcher at Hospital del Mar Research Institute. 

“We have seen that some of these microproteins can stimulate the immune system, potentially generating a response against cancer cells. This response can be enhanced with vaccines, similar to the coronavirus vaccines, but producing these microproteins. These vaccines could stop or reduce tumor growth”, says Puri Fortes, a researcher at CIMA and CIBERehd. Unlike other types of vaccines based on patient-specific mutations, this treatment could be used in multiple people, as the same microprotein is expressed in various patients. 

Administering these vaccines could be relatively simple, although research for their application has not yet begun. “That is our goal”, the researchers indicate. 

Source: Hospital del Mar Research Institute

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