A cancer vaccine could be ready in three years after promising trial results.
The vaccine trains immune systems to destroy tumors, and worked in 90 percent of breast cancer cases in lab tests
It forces antibodies to zoom in on the coating that surrounds cancers and kills them off. In tests on mice, it was particularly successful on breast and pancreatic tumors.
A team from the University of Georgia developed the vaccine and medics are now beginning tests on human cells.
Clinical trials could begin on humans by 2013. Study leader Professor Geert-Jan Boons said, "The vaccine elicits a very strong immune response. It activates all three components of the immune system to reduce tumor size."
Co-author Professor Sandra Gendler, of the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, added, "This is the first time a vaccine has been developed that trains the immune system to distinguish and kill cancer cells based on their different sugar structures."
British experts welcomed the findings. Dr Caitlin Palframan, of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: "This exciting new approach could lead to treatments for breast cancer patients who have few options."
But she said trials on patients are needed.