Peptide-Based Vaccine: An Approach To Treating Cancer
Cancer is a severe disease that has been plaguing humankind for centuries. The treatments available to cancer patients are often not adequate, and many of them come with serious side effects. However, the future doesn’t look too gloomy, thanks to peptide-based vaccines (PV).
Peptides have been used in vaccine development since the 1990s, and they show great promise as possible therapeutic approaches in cancer treatment. Peptides form an essential part of human physiology. They regulate several biological functions in the body and can serve as treatments for different diseases. However, there are specific pharmaceutical companies that include services, ranging from antibody production, peptide synthesis, and gene synthesis. These companies rely on pieces of research conducted by several bioscience departments, working on developing peptide-based vaccines.
One type of peptide-based vaccine is a peptide carrier designed to deliver immunogenic peptides within the cells. Evidence shows that this approach may be more effective than conventional vaccines at stimulating immune responses against cancerous cells.
This article will discuss what custom peptide synthesis is and how it’s used to create peptide-based vaccines and how they may help treat cancer.
What is Custom Peptide Synthesis?
Custom peptide synthesis is the process of creating a unique peptide based on a custom sequence, which can be used in many different fields. Their versatility and flexibility allow for great potential for bioengineering drugs or the creation of vaccines. For instance, extensive research is currently underway for their potential cancer treatment because they are excellent at targeting cancer cells.
The process starts by designing the peptide sequence, like building blocks that form proteins and special molecules within the human body. Then their synthesis takes place with the use of specialized machines called peptide synthesizers or sequencers (PCR).
Finally, the custom-made molecule will require screening and further optimizing before it’s ready for use in experiments.
How Does The Vaccine Stimulate an Immune Response to Cancer Cells
In research involving synthetic peptides, researchers employed peptides to prime T cells from cancer patients with tumor antigen, leading to an increase in activity against tumors made up of those same antigen markers.
Anti-cancer peptide-based vaccines consist of peptides created from the protein sequence of a specific tumor-associated with a patient. Upon introducing the vaccine into the body, the body’s immune system recognizes and mounts an attack against cells displaying cancerous properties, which are then attacked by T-lymphocytes (immune cells).
To be specific, the primary effector immune cells that target and destroy cancer cells are cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTLs). The antigen that stimulates these attacks is derived from proteins found on the surface of actual cancer cell membranes. These are called tumor-associated antigens (TAAs).
These tumor antigens symbolize some vital markers for immunologic interventions in human cancer. They also create the avenue for further studies and progress in this field.
Why is This Approach Promising For Treating Cancer
Peptide-based vaccines present several benefits when compared with traditional options of cancer treatment. This approach is more targeted and doesn’t randomly attack cells like chemotherapy, which kills all fast-growing cells. Another advantage of this method is it’s less expensive. Hence, more patients without the financial means can afford treatment for their cancer.
Finally, such vaccines offer few side effects and work faster when compared to chemotherapy. Therefore, cancer patients could recover quicker while maintaining their quality of life as best they can. Despite sounding like a small detail, the quality of life affects recovery to a large extent.
Potential Drawbacks And Limitations of This Approach
In the relentless pursuit to find a vaccine or cure for cancer, no effective solution has been developed to date. Although peptides raise a lot of interest, they generally have limitations in stimulating a protective immune response because of their size limitations. For instance, the drawback of immunogenicity depends on whether epitopes on tumor cells bind well enough to elicit an adequate response.
Also, these vaccines have the potential to cause an autoimmune response. This means that the body may respond by creating antibodies against healthy cells and attacking them. Although this occurs less often than with traditional therapies, it’s still a potential concern.
The Future of The Research in This Field
There are so many innovations happening every day, and the world of cancer treatment is no exception. New research into peptides has led to new conclusions about immunization for tumors and promising future therapies that could extend lifespans and improve quality of life.
It’s still too early to conclusively say peptide-based vaccines will be the final answer for cancer treatment. However, the research in this field has shown promising results so far, and it’s interesting to find out how it develops. One thing is for sure; they will play a vital role in the future of cancer treatment.
The peptides in these vaccines can stimulate an immune response against tumor cells and boost a strong humoral and cell-mediated immunity that can help fight off any remaining cancer cells after surgery or chemotherapy.
These types of treatment are successful in mice without side effects, suggesting that they could provide people with a less invasive way to treat their cancer as well. Therefore, those interested in anti-cancer vaccines should look into peptide-based vaccines for more information about this type of approach.