The Hormel Institute scientists’ research could lead to development of melanoma vaccine

(ABC 6 News) – A team of scientists at The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota, has published research that could lead to the development of a vaccine for melanoma.

Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer, causing approximately 9,000 deaths in the United States each year.

The team led by George Aslanidi, PhD, Professor and leader of the Molecular Bioengineering and Cancer Vaccine research section, has developed and tested a vaccine that was successful in treating a model that mimics human melanoma.

The unique vaccine design helps the body to use its own immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells. This novel vaccine platform significantly delays primary tumor growth, and clears the spread of the disease in lungs.

“Our approach streamlines melanoma treatment into one simple vaccination. This eliminates many of the toxic effects of the other treatments like chemotherapy and radiation and could significantly improve a patient’s quality of life, shorten the recovery time, and improve mental health, which is often affected by conventional cancer treatments,” said Dr. Aslanidi.

Dr. Aslanidi hopes that a similar approach can eventually be used to treat any type of cancer.

Dr. Aslanidi plans to conduct further studies to address important questions including vaccine dosing, vaccine boosting strategies, and applicability for other cancers.

This research was funded by community-funded grants from Paint the Town Pink and the 5th District Eagles Cancer Telethon Postdoctoral Fellowship Award.