Cancer vaccines are designed to work as same as traditional types of vaccine are doing. Up to now, there are two types of cancer vaccines including prevention vaccines and treatment vaccines.
Vaccines which are biological preparation that improve immunity to a particular disease contain weakened or killed germs such as viruses or bacteria to start an immune response by creating antibodies. Having the immune system willing to recognize and destroy harmful substances helps people be protected from being infected.
Cancer prevention vaccines
It is not a well–known fact that some types of cancer are caused by viruses. Similar to vaccines for diseases like the chicken pox or the flu, cancer prevention vaccines are able to protect human from the infection with viruses that can cause disease. In this case, it is obligatory that cancer prevention vaccines must be given before a person is infected.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made approval for three cancer prevention vaccines:
– Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is probably the most common sexually transmitted infection in the USA. The original HPV quadrivalent vaccine, known as Gardasil (or Silgard in Europe) can prevent cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in girls and women ages 9 to 26. Men and women at the same age group are also protected from anal cancer as well as genital warts by this kind of vaccine. The new version of the Gardasil cancer prevention vaccine is approved for the prevention of 9 types of HPV.
– An HPV bivalent vaccine, known as Cervarix is approved for the protection again two of the subtypes most associated with cervical cancer among girls and women ages 10 to 25.
– Study has shown that people who have chronic (long-term) infections with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) are more likely to face liver cancer risk. The hepatitis B vaccine is used to prevent infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV).
Cancer treatment vaccines
Unlike the cancer prevention vaccines, the cancer treatment vaccines are created to make the body fight against a disease that already exists. Of course, a treatment vaccine is usually given to a person who has already suffered from a certain types of cancer. This kind of vaccine helps to stop cancer from growing or spreading, destroy any cancer cells remaining in the body after another type of treatment.
In fact, most cancer treatment vaccines are currently under research and only available through some clinical trials. The only one type which was already approved by Only the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010 is sipuleucel-T (Provenge) for men with metastatic prostate cancer. It is an autologous cellular immunotherapy, a drug made by a person’s own blood cells and is can be used only for the person whose blood cells were used to create it.
The first step of the process is to remove the white blood cells from the patient’s blood and sent to a lab. After being modified, they become special immune cells called dendritic cells before being infused back into the patient through a vein to teach the immune system to find and attack prostate cancer cells.