SCIENCE: Progress on anti-cancer vaccine

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The Independent Online
Scientists have synthesised a potential anti-cancer vaccine by assembling a carbohydrate molecule from chemical "building blocks".

Cells of many tumours have distinctive antigens - proteins that trigger an immune reaction - on their surfaces. It has long been known that these antigens could be used therapeutically as anti-cancer vaccines. But isolating them in usefully large quantities is difficult. Now a team from the Sloan- Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in New York believe they may have created an artificial anti-cancer vaccine. The science journal Nature, which published the research, said: "Synthetic cell-free KH-1 antigen could be used as a harmless, cell-free way to prime the immune system against tumours, in the same way that vaccination with a viral or bacterial protein fragment can protect against infectious disease."

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