Team makes prostate cancer vaccine candidate
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's highest research institute, Academia Sinica, has announced that its researchers have developed a vaccine candidate for prostate cancer.
August 10, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
The research team, led by Academia Sinica President Wong Chi-huey and an associate research fellow Wu Chung-yi, has made “further progress in understanding the connection between molecule of interest SSEA4 and the spread of cancer cells” in their quest to develop effective carbohydrate-based vaccines, according to the institute.
The team has also developed a vaccine candidate against the pathogen that causes meningococcal meningitis, it said, adding that the related research has been published in top chemistry journals.
Wu, who is from the institute's Genomics Research Center (GRC), was cited by the United Evening News as saying that a pharmaceutical firm has already been authorized to develop the anti-prostate cancer vaccine and if clinical trials are successful, the drug may be available within 10 years.
According to the institute, cell surfaces are coated by sugar structures (glycans), but the ones on normal human cells are often different from those on bacteria or diseased cells, such as cancer cells.
Although the differences in these sugar structures help disease cells to evade attack from a host's immune systems, they can be exploited to develop anti-bacterial and anti-cancer vaccines. They can be used as early cancer detection tools.
The institute said “identifying and understanding these molecules has become an important topic in glycoscience research.”