Image caption National Institutes of Health
American and Dutch researchers say they have found a way to create a more effective vaccine against cancer cells containing a COVID-19 protein fragment.
The protein is part of a “checkpoint” that stops a cancer cell’s response to chemicals.
Scientists have also found that they can induce the cancer cells to stop using COVID-19 by mixing the COVID-19 fragments with the PHA, an anti-COVID-19 protein from other cancer cells.
The study was published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.
Ozone proteins are often used in cancer vaccines to stimulate the body’s immune system. The chemotherapy drugs known as fluorouracil and pemetrexed act like molecules that directly attack both the tumors and their intrinsic defences.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Such anti-COVID-19 anti-tumour vaccines can be used to treat advanced cancers
But COVID-19 is only used as a “checkpoint”, because its existence can degrade the production of CO2, which has the effect of shutting down the immune system’s response.
However, researchers at both the University of Pennsylvania in the US and the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands believe they may be able to neutralise COVID-19 as a checkpoint protein.
They have now produced a proof-of-concept study showing that they can decrease COVID-19 levels and also increase the defence response from COVID-19-deficient immunotherapy vaccine “vaccines” against cancer cells.
Dr Daljeet Duggal, of the drug discovery and development company Moderna Therapeutics, says: “From a clinical perspective, we don’t have to go back and discover something new for a checkpoint.
“So having a robust platform and having this ability to alter it, that could have meaning for a very robust platform.”