Vaccines work by injecting into the body an inactive portion of a disease molecule that is too weak to cause the disease but strong enough to stimulate antibody production.
Upon future exposure to the same disease, the body will be ready to mount a strong attack against it. Vaccines are currently being studied as a potential treatment for lymphoma but are not yet approved for use.
These vaccines are custom-made from each person's unique tumour - a small amount of a person's tumour is taken from a lymph node, modified to make it look like a foreign invader (so the person's immune system will attack it), and re-introduced into the body to stimulate antibody production and an immune response. The aim is that the immune system will then attack the tumour and break it down.
It is not yet known how effective these vaccines will be. A major goal of cancer treatment is the development of therapies that are less toxic than chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Vaccines, like monoclonal antibodies, could provide a new option.
Vaccine Process: Visual Overview
A diagramattical flowchart of vaccine impact on a cell level.