Although cancer is a leading cause of death, significant breakthroughs have been made in its treatment in recent years. In particular, increasingly effective cancer vaccines are being developed, including some for colorectal cancer. There are also currently a variety of compounds that can act as adjuvants, such as signalling molecules called cytokines. Other adjuvants target and inhibit the specific mechanisms by which cancers evade the immune system. One of them is a galectin inhibitor, which targets galectins—proteins produced by cancer cells that can cause the death of immune cells. Likewise, immune checkpoint inhibitors affect immune checkpoints—natural host proteins that usually control inflammation but can be exploited by cancers to weaken the body’s defences. Equally, regulatory T cells may contribute to the progression of cancer by inhibiting the functions of other T cells. The main advantages of cancer vaccines include their low toxicity and their ability to strengthen the immune system. Nevertheless, significant limitations include their slow effects and their inability to treat cancer at times due to immunosuppression. Ultimately, ongoing trials provide hope for the development of more effective methods of immunotherapeutic inoculation that can target a greater variety of cancers.
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