By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – Cancer treatments can’t always keep the cancer from coming back. But local researchers are working on a novel vaccine that would attack the disease with a “one-two punch”.

Chemotherapy directly kills cancer cells, but can harm healthy cells and the cancer sometimes returns. Immunotherapy stimulates the immune system to fight cancer but sometimes can’t get into tumors effectively. Scientists at Harvard are now combining the two in a vaccine, which when injected near a tumor would kill cancer cells on-site and then attract immune cells to continue the fight long-term.

The approach has shown to work in mice and could lead the way to personalized, effective, and convenient treatments for a variety of tumors.

Dr. Mallika Marshall