In the year 1796, Edward Jenner brought a revolution in the world of disease control by inventing vaccinations. Since then, if any disease has been brought in control, it is due to the vaccines only. Cancer is a significant reason for millions of fatalities all over the world each year. Before we go in detail about cancer vaccines, it is necessary to understand that there are primarily two types of vaccines, i.e. preventive vaccines and treatment vaccines.
Preventive vaccines for cancer
The primary principle behind the working of preventive vaccines is that they develop resistance against a particular disease, which is the main reason why most of the vaccines are administered to infants only. A preventive vaccine needs to be given before the virus starts infecting the person; otherwise, it will not work. For cancer, there are two types of preventive vaccines available so far, if you are looking for a ‘show me more’ option, then here we are:
- HPV Vaccine: The first type of vaccine is the HPV vaccine, which develops resistance against human papillomavirus. Such a virus is responsible for cancers such as cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in females. Apart from those, they are the cause behind anal cancer and genital warts too. However, these aren’t the only cancer types caused by HPV, but they aren’t yet proven to work against the other cancer types.
- Hepatitis B Vaccine: According to the reports of a cancer hospital in Kolkata, Hepatitis B accounts for a significant part of all cancer cases in the world, but fortunately, the Hepatitis B vaccine has drastically brought down the number of cases.
Treatment vaccines for cancer
Cancer treatment vaccines or only therapeutic vaccines are a kind of Immunotherapy. Similar to a computer antivirus, our bodies also a firewall to fight against the viruses, Immunotherapy boosts up that defense system and helps our body fight against deadly diseases like cancer. Such vaccines can destroy the leftover cancer cells which remain in the body after cancer treatment, stop cancerous cells from growing, and eventually prevent the chances of recurring cancer by keeping cancer from coming back.
Working of a cancer vaccine
Cancer vaccines don’t work in a very different way from the other vaccines. When the immune system of our bodies fights against a virus, they fight against their antigens to destroy them. As a result, they are left with a memory of fighting with that particular virus and respond similarly to a future attack by the same virus! A renowned oncologist from the same cancer hospital in Kolkata stated that, in some cases, the cancer vaccines are made explicitly for a cancer patient from his tumor sample.
However, cancer vaccines are still a project under development as a majority of fatal cancer types still don’t have a dedicated vaccine.
For many decades, scientists have been trying to get a breakthrough for curing cancer, and the hopes most rely on a fully workable cancer vaccine. Unfortunately, most deadly cancer types are still without a vaccine, and studies are going. Still, the recent developments surely indicate that we are very close to developing a vaccine for all cancer types.