Friday, January 30, 2009

The Theoretical Cancer Vaccine

One cannot be vaccinated against cancer. This is a simple, clear medical fact. Medical science just has no way of developing a vaccine that would prevent a condition like cancer from taking hold. The technology does not exist that would allow us to wipe out cancer in the same way that polio and smallpox have been. However, that doesn't mean that some sort of cancer vaccine would not be impossible in the future.

Theoretically, a cancer vaccine can be developed, it is simply a matter of the right research team looking into the right method. There have been several inroads made in the past few decades towards this aim, with testing of prospective vaccines having been conducted. Some trials are still in the process of being completed, as well. The problem, however, is that none of the results so far have shown enough promise to be the concrete way to prevent cancer.

Immunotherapy is considered to be among the most promising avenues of treatment for cancer that is currently available. The mentality behind this method involves developing medications and drugs that would allow the body to attack the cancerous cells, rather than relying on medications or radiation to do it. It also allows for the development of several experimental vaccines designed to provide a person immunity to cancer. In this vein, there are two major categories of hypothetical cancer vaccines: the specific and the universal.

As the name implies, specific vaccines are ones that are developed to treat a particular type of cancer. There are various forms of cancer, and some theorize that it would be better to develop a vaccine for each one separately to maximize the chances of preventing the condition. The universal, on the other hand, would theoretically function as a general “prevent-all” measure. It would not target any specific cancer, but would instead be intended to vaccinate the person to all known forms of cancer.

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