Acute leukemia (ALL) is a highly malignant form of blood cancer that affects both children and adults. The fundamental aim is to develop vaccines to treat (rather than prevent) ALL. To achieve this, Dr. Perreault and his team will need to discover antigens present exclusively on leukemia cells and capable of eliciting a strong immune response. To this end, they have developed a revolutionary strategy based on genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics. Using this method in mice, they discovered antigens capable of inducing the immune system to eliminate leukemia cells. They now want to use their method to discover human leukemia antigens that can be used as therapeutic vaccines against LAs.
To achieve this, they need to accomplish three tasks. Firstly, to discover all the leukemic antigens present in 40 cases of LA. Secondly, to assess the ability of these antigens to elicit an immune response. Finally, to develop the best therapeutic formulation for anti-ALL vaccines. Vaccines used in the prevention of infectious diseases are known to be the least costly (in side effects and money) way of saving lives, and they expect the same to be true of therapeutic cancer vaccines. They therefore believe that the emergence of leukemia vaccines could transform the treatment of this dreaded disease…and that all patients would prefer a vaccine to chemotherapy treatment.