Vaccines: Fighting current & future diseases

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Vaccines are dominating headlines right now, thanks to the recent nationwide measles outbreak.

"The reason we have a vaccine for this virus is it is highly contagious," said Dr. Amanda Storey.

For the last century, vaccines have been used to prevent the spread of dozens of infectious diseases, like smallpox, hepatitis, and influenza. These once medical marvels continue to evolve, from how they're administered, such as nasal sprays, to what they prevent.

A team of doctors and scientists are developing vaccines to slow the growth of cancer. Testing is already underway for patients with prostate cancer.

"What we're doing is combining this vaccine with a few other immunotherapies, as well, to try to really jump-start the immune system," said Dr. Russell Pachynski.

Oral immunotherapy is working to combat one of the fastest growing and most fatal food allergies, peanut allergies.

"So if you end up taking a bite of something that might have a peanut in it, it won't cause a life-threatening allergic reaction," said Dr. Sandra Hong.

Early trials on this drug, show it can help children tolerate the food in their diets.

"It's just so exciting," said mother Shailey Desai. "It gives a lot of hope."

Scientists are also working on vaccines for other types of cancer, including breast and brain cancer, but the ultimate goal is to find a cure.

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