Pitt team tests promising vax for IBD, colon cancer

A team of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has developed an experimental vaccine that targets an abnormal tumor protein, delaying the onset of inflammatory bowel disease and slowing the progression of colon cancer in an animal study.

The researchers started with the observation that the cell protein, dubbed MUC1, is both abnormal and abundant in IBD and colon cancer. They also knew that people suffering from IBD had a significantly higher risk of colon cancer.

"Our experiments indicate that boosting the immune response against this protein early in the disease can delay IBD development, control inflammation and thereby reduce the risk of future cancers," said Dr. Olivera Finn. "These findings suggest also that the early stages of chronic inflammation might be considered a premalignant condition."

Transgenic mice engineered to develop IBD followed by colon cancer responded favorably. And the scientist said that the vaccine has the potential to be used to prevent IBD as well as colon cancer in humans.

- here's the report from Science Daily