One hot topic that has taken the world by storm is the issue of vaccination posed by “anti-vaxxers” around the world. This movement may have been the result of us living in the post-truth era, but arguments against this mindset are easily disputable. One mainstream anti-vaxxer argument is that “Vaccines weaken your immune system.” Actual existing vaccines can debunk this argument because of how they are constructed—vaccines utilize weak versions of a virus that it introduces to your body so your immune system can identify it and prevent future infections. This means that as opposed to what antivaxxers say, vaccines actually improve our immune system.
A development that proves this is how the seasonal-flu vaccine has been upgraded by scientists to improve the cancer-fighting capacities of mice. They did this by injecting the vaccine at the site of the tumors via immunotherapy, making “cold” tumors “hot” so a patient’s immune system can eradicate cancerous cells.
Rutgers University scientists recently published a paper at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences detailing their experiment wherein they used mice as test subjects and utilized the seasonal flu vaccine as an activator for the immune system. What they did was they injected the vaccine into the lungs of mice that contained melanoma cancer. Mice who received the flu shot made their tumors “hot”, activating their immune system responses and had become sensitive to treatments that prevent the auto-immune defenses of the tumors to activate. This experiment came after their findings when they discovered that a deactivated version of the flu virus had a positive effect. As a result of this experiment, they confirmed their suspicions when the seasonal flu vaccine reduce the growth of the tumor along with providing immunity to the flu virus.
The scientists noted, however, that the vaccine isn’t perfect. The tests were conducted on mice, so its effect might not be the same when applied to humans. Researchers, however, did their comparative literature and found out that a data on 30,000 people who received treatment for lung cancer and suffered from the flu infection at the same time had improved survival rates. This study also provides evidence that viruses can activate the immune system, making an “immunologically inflamed hot microenvironment” at the cancer site. This means that the seasonal flu vaccine in the future may be used as a “ preventive measure against infection and an immunotherapy for cancer.”
Our scientists here in the Philippines are also actively discovering breakthroughs in science especially in health despite having less than the suggested number of scientists in a developing country not to mention the small budget devoted to research and development (R&D).
Through the years, according to study, the Philippines has. Contrary to our neighboring nations, the Philippines allot. There are also very few number of National Scientists here in the country. This year, there are only 42 national scientists on record including the newly conferred Dr. Emil Javier.
The National Academy of Science and Technology or DOST-NAST has been very active in creating programs to empower our existing scientists and future ones together with the Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI). (Check out www.facebook.com/nastphil and facebook.com/DOST.SEI on Facebook.)
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