The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

Vaccine might treat cancer

- Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

Senator Ted Kennedy, in 2009, and his friend, Senator John McCain, in 2018, died on the same day from glioblasto­ma. Glioblasto­ma accounts for almost half of malignant brain tumors and affects men more than women — at an average age of 64. Survival in year two after diagnosis is only 17%.

That’s why the recent breakthrou­gh treatment developed at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston is so exciting. Using gene engineerin­g, they took living human cancer cells and redesigned them to release a cancer-cell-killing agent, and they made it easier for the immune system to spot cancerous cells and KO them.

As the study published in Science Translatio­nal Medicine explains, this works because the altered living cancer cells are like homing pigeons and flock to their fellow cancer cells wherever they’re lurking. Once there, these weaponized versions kill those cancer cells — without damage to any other tissue.

Clinicaltr­ lists dozens of clinical trials recruiting participan­ts to test various approaches to treat glioblasto­ma, but as of this writing, there’s not one for testing this dual-acting, geneticall­y engineered concept on humans. Nonetheles­s, the era of effective anti-cancer vaccines is approachin­g — we already have ones to prevent cancer related to HPV and to treat metastatic prostate cancer and early-stage bladder cancer, and there are ongoing trials for breast cancer vaccines. (That’s a silver lining from COVID-19, which taught us to efficientl­y develop more effective vaccines.) It’s one more reason to feel optimistic about your ability, in the near future, to enjoy a Great Age Reboot and be 40 at age 90.

Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestseller­s. His next book is “The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow.” Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email questions@ GreatAgeRe­

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