MINSK, 2 January (BelTA) – Belarusian scientists have developed a DNA vaccine against neuroblastoma, BelTA learned from Maria Stegantseva, a researcher at the laboratory of genetic biotechnologies of the National Research Center for Pediatric Oncology, Hematology and Immunology.
Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that affects nerve tissue. It is the most common cancer in babies. “We have determined specific features of cancer cells and the markers that help a body to identify a diseased cell. The vaccine delivers these markers into a body in a form of a DNA in order to teach the immune system to identify and kill cancer cells. The DNA vaccine against neuroblastoma has already passed pre-clinical trial and has proved efficient,” Maria Stegantseva said.
This disease has a high risk of relapse. “Our solution is designed to prevent relapses. A patient can receive this vaccine after a tumor is removed and cancer cells are no longer identified,” the researcher said.
The research project provides for developing both a general DNA vaccine for mass distribution, and a specific vaccine for each patient. There are no therapeutic means like that in Belarus yet. DNA vaccines undergo clinical trials in many countries around the world; however there are no registered vaccines yet.
This research project took the first prize in the Best Youth Innovative Project category at the National Contest of Innovative Projects in 2018. This contest is held in Belarus every year. It is arranged by the State Committee on Science and Technology in cooperation with the Education Ministry, National Academy of Sciences, BRSM Youth Union and other interested stakeholders. The contest is designed to encourage and reward innovation, in particular in the business community, and to involve more young people into innovative activities. The contest was held for the ninth time in 2018.