What research is being done to develop cancer vaccines?

Researchers have several cancer vaccines in late-stage clinical trials, including one to treat breast cancer. These types of cancer vaccines include:
  • Antigen vaccines. These vaccines are created by mass producing certain cells from a tumor, altering them so they are more easily recognized as invaders by the person's immune system, and injecting them into the person.
  • Tumor cell vaccines. These vaccines are composed of cells from the person's tumor that have been modified so they cannot reproduce. By injecting them into the person, it is hoped they will stimulate the immune system to attack the specific antigen for that cancer and destroy original cancer cells that are replicating.
  • Dendritic cell vaccines. Dendritic cells are immune system cells that "show" antigens to T cells so they can produce antibodies. A dendritic cell vaccine trains the person's dendritic cells to recognize the tumor antigen as foreign, then injects the "trained" dendritic cells into the person so they can "train" T cells.
  • DNA vaccines. DNA vaccines use certain genetic material from the tumor to stimulate the body's immune response.
  • Vector-based vaccine. A vector-based cancer vaccine uses a virus, bacteria or yeast cell to "deliver" cancer antigens or DNA. The immune system responds to the vector as well as the cancer antigen, triggering a stronger immune response.

Continue Learning about Vaccines & Immunizations

Vaccines & Immunizations

Vaccines & Immunizations

Vaccines are commonly given to children in the form of a shot to help prevent serious diseases like measles and mumps. Vaccines are developed using either dead strains of a disease, weakened strains, or strains of a different dise...

ase. As adults, we receive flu vaccines or may need a booster of childhood vaccines to retain immunity. Travelers may receive vaccines either as a condition of entry to a country, or on recommendation of health officials. Generally there is little or no reaction to a vaccine, but in some cases the vaccine may cause an allergic reaction or a temporary, mild illness. Some vaccines are not safe for pregnant women, so it’s important to check with a healthcare professional.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.