October 3, 2022 by Dean Bellefeuille

hopeful cancer patient

Fall is the start to cold and flu season, which is also the time our immune systems get a good workout. Fortunately, our natural immunity is remarkable with its capacity to identify and eradicate invading infections. Wouldn’t it be amazing if it could do the same with cancer? As it turns out, just such a cancer treatment option may be on the horizon.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) decided to test whether disguising cancer as a viral infection would coax the immune system to kick into gear, and the results were incredible. By injecting small amounts of peptides (viral proteins) into tumors in mice, the immune cells were triggered, shrank the tumors, and even stopped them from growing back.

The viral peptides used were from CMV (cytomegalovirus), a standard virus which is recognized by most people’s immune systems and typically doesn’t cause any symptoms. Once someone is infected with CMV, it stays with them for a lifetime. And, as John Schiller, Ph.D. of NCI’s Center for Cancer Research details, “It’s one of the few immune responses that gets better as you get older.”

Immunotherapy like this also offers the possibility for long-term protection, and early research is showing this to be the case with CMV peptide treatment. And even when mice were injected with new lung cancer cells after being cured, no new tumors developed. Comparable results were attained with different forms of cancer as well.

In addition to showing to be highly effective in the study, additional advantages that may be gained through CMV immunotherapy include:

  • It will be more economical and less time-consuming to produce than other immunotherapy treatments
  • Treatment does not need to be customized for every person or type of cancer
  • Synthetic virus peptides can be produced simply and in large volumes

Dr. Schiller adds that this is a “simple, off-the-shelf product that you could even use in low-resource settings because it doesn’t require sophisticated molecular profiling of tumors.”

While we excitedly await the outcomes of upcoming clinical trials, At Home Independent Living is here to help someone you love through cancer treatment and beyond with personalized home care services, including:

  • Providing transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments, procedures, and treatments
  • Assisting with household chores and laundry
  • Preparing meals that align with any prescribed dietary plans, keeping in mind changes in taste, smell, and appetite
  • Running errands, including picking up groceries and prescriptions
  • Serving as a friendly companion to brighten every day

Contact us at (315) 579-HOME (4663) for a free consultation for additional details on our services and the peace of mind you will gain from knowing you have a highly trained partner in care by your side.