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Tailor-made cancer vaccines that target unique genetic errors in a patient's tumour have been developed in the US. Safety tests on three people, published in the journal Science, showed the immune system could be trained to fight skin cancers. The American team say the early results mark a "significant step" towards personalised cancer vaccines. The charity Cancer Research UK called the tests an "exciting but very early-stage trial".
Dr Alan Worsley, of Cancer Research UK, said: "This exciting but very early-stage trial shows that it may be possible to create vaccines that are tailored to the specific genetic mistakes in a patient's cancer. "At the moment it's not clear how effective this immunotherapy would be at killing cancer cells in the body and improving survival, but this promising study sets the stage for creating vaccines that are designed to target each patient's individual tumour in the future." Prof Caroline Springer, who works on new drugs for melanoma at the Institute for Cancer Research, told the BBC News website: "I think it's very interesting. "It's a very positive results and it's good that it's safe, but it's quite early days. "Ipilimumab can have long-lasting effects on its own. The vaccine has mounted an immune response but it is difficult to tell if that amounts to an anti-tumour response if it is already responding to ipilimumab."