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TB vaccine treats liver cancer in mice


Tuberculosis

Researchers in the US have found that the vaccine for tuberculosis (TB) can also shrink the tumours of mice with liver cancer and prolong their survival.


The BCG vaccine has been protecting people, especially children, against TB for more than 80 years. It is also known to boost the body’s immunity and has already been approved in the US to treat bladder cancer.


The team at the University of California, Davis, investigated whether BCG could treat other tumours and found that, when given to mice with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common liver cancer, a single dose was able to reduce tissue scarring, improve the function of the liver and shrink the tumours.


This is because the vaccine promotes the activity of the body’s immune cells, allowing them to enter the tumour to fight the cancer.


The approach offers a ‘potentially more simplified treatment plan’ for HCC, said lead author Yu-Jui Yvonne Wan. “Our study showed that BCG immunotherapy for HCC is different from and superior to other immunotherapies.”


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