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Researchers Find Way To Target Cancer's 'Achilles Heel'

Researchers at University College London have found a way to find and target tumor antigens.

By Melissa Prax | March 4, 2016

New research may have made headway in the fight against cancer by targeting what scientists are calling the disease's "Achilles heel."

Researchers at University College London say they've found a way to find "unique markings" in cancerous tumors that enable the immune system to hone in on the disease.

A professor from the institute told the BBC: "This is exciting. Now we can prioritize and target tumor antigens that are present in every cell - the Achilles heel of these highly complex cancers."

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Tumors can mutate as they get larger. Mutations and growth mean they can become too difficult for the immune system to tackle, even though the tumor creates toxins meant to trigger an immune response. 

If this new method is successful, the patient's immune system could be led to tackle the disease with the help of normal treatments. 

This idea isn't entirely new, but the target that previous methods aimed for was different.

This method would be personalized through DNA analysis, which means it would be costly. 

Another dilemma: It hasn't been tested yet. Researchers hope to test patients in the coming years. 

This video includes clips from Cancer Research UK and Cancer Research Institute and images from Getty Images. 

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