Vaccines That Help Heal
Science continues to fascinate me! Personally, I have been grateful for modern medicine many times throughout my own life. I have seen a premature baby, who arrived weighing just a few pounds, grow into a thriving child. I have seen courageous men return from war as amputees, who go onto run marathons. I have had family members live long lives after having triple bypass surgery. So to say that I value medicine and science is an understatement.
I guess that is why I can’t seem to understand why some people question the number of vaccines on the current immunization schedule. I consider it a blessing that medical advancements can now protect our children from such a large number of dangerous diseases. And today, I’m reminded that modern medicine continues to offer a great deal of promise for people who already suffer from various diseases. It’s based upon the idea that vaccines can actually help us heal.
For the past 30 years, researchers have been working on therapeutic vaccines. As today’s Boston Globe explains, “Just as conventional preventative vaccines use the immune system to prevent disease, therapeutic vaccines use the immune system to target and kill a disease already in progress.”
The article acknowledges that there have been “major failures and minor victories” in this area of research over the years, but that now, “researchers may at last have a deep enough understanding of the immune system to make a difference.”
“Right now, we’re finally at a point where at least the preliminary tools exist for us to deliver something that will start a new trend in medicine,’’ said Garo H. Armen, chief executive of Agenus Inc., a Lexington biotechnology company that is developing a therapeutic herpes vaccine.
In addition to vaccines that attack herpes, therapeutic vaccines are currently under development for hepatitis C, chlamydia, HIV, diabetes, other autoimmune disorders, and there are even vaccines that target nicotine and various cancers.
While I’m sure there will be critics of these advancements, I hope people will be encouraged to learn more about these advancements, as mentioned in today’s Boston Globe.
I am grateful that scientists are working hard to discover new ways we may be able to supplement our own natural defenses. But I wonder, what are your thoughts and opinions on therapeutic vaccines?