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Boston cancer researchers create vaccine to kill and prevent brain cancer glioblastoma

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Can the cure for deadly cancers be in the cancer itself?

Boston scientists in groundbreaking research have used a new way to turn cancer cells into potent, anti-cancer agents.

The Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers created a cancer vaccine to simultaneously kill and prevent the deadly brain cancer glioblastoma. The team developed a new cell therapy approach to eliminate established tumors and induce long-term immunity — training the immune system so that it can prevent cancer from recurring.

“I’m a big believer that the cure for these tough cancers might be in the cancer itself, that we can use cancer against cancer,” the Brigham’s Khalid Shah told the Herald on Wednesday.

“Our team has pursued a simple idea: to take cancer cells and transform them into cancer killers and vaccines,” said Shah, director of the Center for Stem Cell and Translational Immunotherapy and the vice chair of research in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Brigham and faculty at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Stem Cell Institute. “Using gene engineering, we are repurposing cancer cells to develop a therapeutic that kills tumor cells and stimulates the immune system to both destroy primary tumors and prevent cancer.”

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