Tobacco Plant Used For Personalized Cancer Vaccine

Armen Hareyan's picture
Tobacco Plant For Cancer Treatment

Scientists use tobacco plant to grow personalized cancer vaccine, particularly Lymphoma Vaccines, according to tumor genetic characteristics of each patient.

A team of researchers from Stanford University in California have found a way of growing cancer vaccine in tobacco plant, which is actually the main cause of most cancer cases worldwide.

Researchers targeted a type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma called follicular B-cell lymphoma. This cancer stimulates a process of creating specific antibodies in tumor affected cells. They examined those cells and added antibody gene into tobacco plants. As the plant grows, it's cells produce huge amount of antibody proteins, which later are extracted from leaves easily and inserted into human body.


Researchers examined only 16 patients suffering from follicular B-cell lymphoma. Cancer patients were injected the personalized vaccine and 70% of them did not report any adverse side effects.

This research shows that tobacco plant method is safe, fast and cheap, but it doesn't examine effectiveness of the method. Further researches and more funding is needed to conduct larger studies and trials to make sure that vaccine really works.

A spokesman for Cancer Research UK, said: "While these results could potentially be very exciting, this was a small and early-stage trial and it did not look at whether this vaccination strategy reduced the size of the tumors. "This is a good foundation for future work, but a larger study will be needed to test the success of this plant-made antibody in fighting non-Hodgkin's lymphoma."

The idea of growing a cancer vaccine is not new. Previous studies were examining this technique using animals, but growing a vaccine in an animal takes longer time than growing it in a plant. Only one week and only a few leaves are quite enough to create the vaccine specially designed for each patient.