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Does it Wear a Cape?

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Researchers at the University of Georgia and the Mayo Clinic have developed a cancer vaccine that they say could be effective against breast, prostate, pancreatic, bowel, and ovarian tumors, reports the UK Daily Mail's Fiona Macrae. In a mouse model, this so-called "super vaccine" shrank breast tumors by 80 percent, Macrae says. The researchers add that it could even work on drug-resistant tumors. Rather than attacking the tumors directly, the vaccine gets the immune system to do the fighting. The vaccine trains the immune system to go after cells with an overabundance of the MUC1 protein. As MUC1 is overexpressed in cancer cells, the idea is that such a vaccine would train the body to kill cancer cells while sparing healthy cells with normal MUC1 expression, Macrae says. In the end, the researchers say about 70 percent of cancers could be susceptible to this vaccine. While the tests so far have only been done on mice, the researchers plan to start testing on humans within the next two years.

The Scan

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In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.