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Vaccine Possible for Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States.  Heredity and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are risk factors for colon cancer.  Inflammatory bowel disease causes inflammation of the intestinal tissue, which increases the risk of cancer formation.  The exciting news is that researchers have developed an experimental vaccine that appears to halt the development of inflammatory bowel disease and prevent colon cancer.
 
Scientists know that people with inflammatory bowel disease have a greater risk of colon cancer, as do those with genes that cause the development of cancerous changes triggered by inflammation.  Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh suggest that the early stages of inflammation may be a precancerous condition.  These researchers developed a vaccine (MUC1 Vaccine), that when tested in mice, demonstrated less intestinal inflammation and no evidence of cancerous changes. 
 
Currently, researchers are evaluating the experimental vaccine in patients with a high risk of colon cancer.  The researchers believe that their vaccine changes the intestinal environment from one that promotes cancerous changes to one that prevents it. In addition, the researchers hope to use the vaccine as a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease. 
 

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