Vaccine doubles survival of deadly brain cancer
CHICAGO - A cancer vaccine more than doubled the survival time of people with the most common and deadly type of brain tumor, U.S. researchers said on Monday.The vaccine, made by Avant ...
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Since: Dec 05
#1 Jun 8, 2008
Targeted treatments (like Temodar) take advantage of the biologic differences between cancer cells and healthy cells by "targeting" faulty genes or proteins that contribute to the growth and development of cancer. Many times these drugs are combined with chemotherapy, biologic therapy (immunotherapy), or other targeted treatments.
Tumor immunotherapy studies were prematurely abandoned during the early 90's. One such study was a concept of in situ cancer vaccination based upon studies of biologic response modifiers in an assay. Preliminary results found a striking association between the activity of biologic response modifiers which activate macrophages and the prior treatment status of patients with breast and ovarian cancers.
Effective chemotherapy produced a massive release and processing of tumor antigens, which led to a state in which the human immune system, via in situ cancer vaccination, responded to exogenous macrophage activation signals with potent and specific anti-tumor effects.
It's good to see the resurgence of aggressive cancer vaccine research. Criticism of this research would be typical of those that favor attempts to identify one-size-fits-all treatments through trial-and-error testing. Circumscription of the clinical initiative by researchers to help patients advances a naive fundamentalism. The choice of researchers to integrate promising insights and methods remains an essential component of new paradigms of cancer treatment.
The new agents range from antibodies that form complexes with antigens on the surface of the cancer cell (receptors) to small molecules that have been engineered to block key enzymatic reactions within the cell. The interaction of the antibody or drug with its target inhibits pathways that are essential for cell proliferation or metastasis or activates pathways that culminate in cell death (apoptosis).
Oncologists prescribe patients one standard empiric chemotherapy regimen after another, until they find one that works. This often can expose patients to needless side effects of chemotherapy, without showing any cancer-killing results. Knowing the drug sensitivity profile of a specific cancer patient can allow the treating oncologist to prescribe therapy that will be the most effective against tumor cells.
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