CureVax is an emerging cancer treatment method in which a patient’s tumor cells are sampled, grown in the laboratory, and burst open in a very specific way in order to expose that specific cancer’s vulnerabilities. These processed shreds of the tumor cells are then injected back into the patient, stimulating his or her immune system to attack the cancer.
By fighting cancers using the body’s own immune cells, this method has immense potential to treat cancers that are otherwise very difficult to cure.
A virus-lysed tumor cell vaccine is an active immunotherapeutic agent against tumors in patients. Tumor cells are removed from a patient, the cells are cultured in the laboratory and infected with live vaccinia virus—the active component of the vaccine that eradicated smallpox. During incubation, viral oncolysis occurs, in which the virus enters the tumor cells and breaks them open, spilling their contents, in a process known as lysis. The resulting viral oncolysate has lost the ability to grow as a tumor, but can be recognized by the patient’s immune system as the tumor. After extraction and processing, the viral oncolysate may be injected back into the patient to stimulate the immune response.
In a successful treatment, the patient begins to vigorously attack the tumor with his or her own immune system.
The CureVax method is currently being incorporated into clinical trials to assess efficacy in treating cancers such as melanoma, using a refinement of technique called DC-MelVac.
The Original CureVax Patent
United States Patent #4,108,983