Researchers will look for common themes in the protein signatures that tumors produce.

Researchers at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe and Mayo Clinic are trying to find components in cancer that could be used to vaccinate against the occurrence of the disease. The researchers hope that some of these unique components could be shared among different types of cancer and lead to broad protection from multiple tumors.

“This is a bold, unconventional approach backed by promising science,” remarks Michael Tracy, deputy director of the Biodesign Institute.

Research led by Stephen Albert Johnston, who directs the institute’s Center for Innovations in Medicine, suggests there may be common themes in the protein signatures that tumors produce, Tracy explained.

“This idea of identifying signatures unique to cancer suggests the possibility of preventive vaccines,” points out Laurence Miller, M.D., director of research and deputy director of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. “This approach could avoid many of the problems associated with trying to treat an established tumor.”

This project is the first initiative undertaken under an umbrella partnership called the Mayo Clinic/ASU Center for Cancer-related Convergence, Cooperation and Collaboration. Mayo Clinic and ASU have invested seed funds to launch this project and obtain the initial supportive data. Space has been allocated in a new research facility on the Scottsdale campus of Mayo Clinic, and additional faculty and clinicians are being hired to support this phase of the project.

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