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Vaccines

A key battleground in the fight against cancer has been the development of vaccines to stop tumors taking hold. These are intended to kick the body's own immune system into action to fend off the cancerous cells, with immunotherapy drugs for melanomas, prostate and lung cancer all emerging in recent years. But one hurdle oncologists are yet to tackle with any great success is a vaccine for breast cancer. New research now suggests this mightn't be all that far away, with the discovery that loading cancer antigens into silicon microparticles serves to greatly boost the immune response.

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A new study suggests that RTS,S/AS01, the prime candidate for a malaria vaccine and the first one to reach large-scale clinical testing, is partially effective especially among young African children for a period of up to four years after vaccination. The vaccine could potentially prevent millions of cases of clinical malaria, particularly in areas of high transmission like sub-Saharian Africa, and in the age group in which malaria is known to be the most lethal. Read More
A novel vaccine for the AIDS virus may become possible through a new compound proving highly effective in preventing HIV infection. While testing has only been carried out on monkeys so far, the scientists behind the development say that with its ability to block multiple strains of infection at once, the technique has huge potential to one day provide long-lasting protection against the deadly virus. Read More
As if soap bubbles don't spread enough happiness on their own, scientists have discovered a way of coating them in biomolecules with a view to treating viruses, cancer and other diseases. The technology has been developed at the University of Maryland, where researchers devised a method of tricking the body into mistaking the bubbles for harmful cells, triggering an immune response and opening up new possibilities in the delivery of drugs and vaccines. Read More
If you're a smoker who's trying to quit, you may recall hearing about vaccines designed to cause the body's immune system to treat nicotine like a foreign invader, producing antibodies that trap and remove it before it's able to reach receptors in the brain. It's a fascinating idea, but according to scientists at California's Scripps Research Institute, a recent high-profile attempt had a major flaw. They claim to have overcome that problem, and are now developing a vaccine of their own that they believe should be more effective. Read More
Scientists have produced a single dose Ebola vaccine shown to provide primates with long-term protection from the deadly disease. What is most promising about the development is the delivery method, with the vaccine administered through the nose and lungs, mitigating the associated risk of spreading the disease through infected needles. Read More
A clinical trial of a permanent vaccine for hookworm has been completed in Brazil, giving hope for a permanent end to a problem that affects 600 million people worldwide. US-based Sabin Vaccine Institute, which has developed the vaccine has called hookworm "one of the most pervasive neglected tropical diseases (NTD) affecting the world’s poor." Read More
Scientists at University College Cork in Ireland have successfully finished pre-clinical testing of an experimental vaccine against malaria delivered through the skin. The method is an improvement on this type of vaccine delivery, whose use is being researched in relation to other infections as well, including Ebola and HIV. Read More
Vaccines save lives, but sometimes they fail to reach the people who need them most, in parts of the developing world. A research team from Iowa State University is currently developing a new generation of vaccines that uses nanotechnology, and is delivered in spray form. One of the advantages of this new type of vaccine is that is can increase access to people living in remote areas because it requires no refrigeration and is simpler to administer. Read More
Researchers from the University of Washington have created a vaccine with the potential to make on-demand vaccination cheaper and quicker, using engineered nanoparticles. Tests with mice show definite promise for the technology's use on humans. Read More
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