Powering up your immune system – Therapeutic Vaccines market

People generally assume vaccines to be a method to prevent contraction of a disease. However, therapeutic vaccines aren’t used for prevention against disease but as a method of treatment. Like a regular vaccine, their role is to stimulate the immune system to target an infection or a type of diseased cell. Currently, therapeutic vaccines are most commonly used for targeted treatment of various types of cancers. They represent a viable option for active immunotherapy of cancers that aim to treat late stages of the disease by using the patient’s own immune system. WBCs play the main role in immune responses. They carry out the many tasks required to protect the body against disease causing microbes and abnormal cells. Some leukocytes provide a general, non-specific level of immune protection. Others known as lymphocytes provide more targeted protection against specific threats. Stimulating lymphocytes to attack cancer cells is the general aim of the vaccine.

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Cancer vaccines belong to a class of substances known as biological response modifiers(BRMs). They work by stimulating and/or restoring the immune’s systems ability to fight the infections or diseases. Cancer treatment vaccines delay or stop cancer cell growth, cause tumor shrinkage, and prevent the cancer from coming back by eliminating cancer cells that have not been killed by other forms of treatment. Treatment vaccines introduce one or more antigens into the body, usually by injection. These antigens cause an immune response that result in antibody production. These antibodies recognize and bind to the antigens on the surface of the cancer cells and kill them.

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The first therapeutic vaccines approved by the FDA was to treat metastatic prostate cancer in some men. In the initial trials the vaccine increased the survival of the men by four months, in the cases in which it was successful. Cancer treatment vaccines are also being developed using weakened or killed cancer cells that carry specific antigens. These cells could come from the same patient (autologous vaccine) or from another patient (allogeneic vaccine). Another method of treatment under development include those made using molecules of RNA and DNA that contain genetic instructions for cancer associated antigens. Production of these tumor related antigens should cause a strong immune response.

Such experimental trials and development of new treatment methods are the key to the growth of the therapeutic vaccines market. The global therapeutic vaccines market is currently valued at an underwhelming USD 1.1325 Billion, which is not surprising since it is in a developmental stage but market Data Forecast predicts the market to grow at a CAGR of 33.6% for the next five years given the quality of the trials being conducted and the possible huge future impact it could have on the healthcare industry.

Therapeutic vaccines are not only limited to cancer. Researchers are also developing vaccines that has the potential to control viral STDs and their complications. It could stop a person with HIV from developing AIDS and help currently infected patients maintain lower viral loads. The top 10 therapeutic vaccines currently being tested are for all kinds of diseases such as Glioblastomas, Cervical cancer, Skin cancer, Lung cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, celiac disease, and Recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis.

There are currently more than 120 new vaccines in the pipelines of various multinational companies that are the market leaders in the global therapeutic vaccines market like GSK, Merck, Sanofi Pasteur, Novartis, Johnson and Johnson, and Medimmune to name a few. Increasing prevalence of these troublesome diseases has led to increased funding from the government and rise in investments from the major market players to constantly develop new drugs that could potentially be the only proper cure for such diseases.

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