Scientists Cure Mice Of Prostate Cancer Using Human Vaccine

06/21/2011 06:42 pm ET | Updated Aug 21, 2011

A cure for prostate cancer -- sans chemotherapy and radiation treatments -- could be on the horizon, according to promising new research in mice.

Mayo Clinic researchers successfully cured mice of prostate cancer using a human vaccine that has no side effects, according to a study published this week in the journal Nature Medicine.

If the vaccine is also able to work in humans, it would enable people with prostate cancer to be rid of their tumors without having to suffer from the side effects that come with chemo and radiation, researchers said.

The vaccine works by signaling the mice's immune systems to recognize and attack the prostate cancer tumor and leave healthy tissue unharmed, said Mayo Clinic researchers, who collaborated with scientists from the United Kingdom for the study.

"We are hopeful that this will overcome some of the major hurdles which we have seen with immunotherapy cancer research," study researcher Richard Vile, Ph.D., an immunologist at the Mayo Clinic, said in a statement.

Clinical trials in humans for the vaccine could begin within two years. The research has already shown promise for treating melanoma, and could also be an effective way to treat lung, brain and pancreatic cancer, researchers said.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men (with skin cancer being the most common), and most often occurs in older men over the age of 65, according to the National Cancer Institute.

For more on how the immunotherapy approach works to combat prostate cancer, WATCH:

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