Name: Kathy S Littlejohn
Is any progress being made in developing an anti-serum for human
cancers? If so, which cancers?
If by "anti-serum" you mean an antibody based treatment then the answer
is no. Cancer cells are not sufficiently different from normal cells to
create antibodies which will target the cancer specifically for some
kind of destruction. But people are still working on it. The key to
treating cancer is still early detection followed by chemotherapy.
Also, scientists are working on ways to enhance the immune response to
cancer cells with cytokines, proteins which increase the response, and
possibly even vaccination with modified cancer cells. These alternative
therapies have shown some promise and may gain common use.
To add further to the previous respondent:
Several clinical trials are now underway to vaccinate people with
modified cancer cells, or with antigens (proteins, mostly) from
cancer cells. The trials that I know of have targeted melanomas,
a skin cancer that often shows rather aggressive metastasis. The
degree to which this "therapeutic immunization" will work remains to
be seen. Similar strategies are being tested for various viral diseases,
including HIV (AIDS) and herpes virus infections.
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Update: June 2012