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UNC scientists discover potential strategy to improve cancer vaccines

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The promise of vaccines targeted against various types of cancer has raised the hopes of patients and their families. The reality, however, is that these promising treatments are difficult to develop. One of the challenges is i...

Personalized vaccine for lymphoma patients extends disease-free survival by nearly 2...

(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- A personalized vaccine is a powerful therapy to prevent recurrence among certain follicular lymphoma patients, according to the latest results of ongoing research led by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. The new ...

Immune cells may help deliver cancer vaccines for children

In a finding that could lay the groundwork for future cancer vaccines for children, cancer researchers working in cell culture have shown that modified immune cells can efficiently deliver genetic material to stimulate a desirable immune response. Researchers from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania manipulated immune cells called CD40-activated B cells to carry RNA produced by tumors and viruses. The RNA, which carries genetic codes from DNA, was obtained either from tumor or viral proteins. The researchers adapted an approach used in research on adults to one more appropriate for children.

Antibody therapy can increase the effectiveness of cancer vaccine

The benefit of some cancer vaccines may be boosted by treating patients with an antibody that blocks a key protein on immune system T cells, according to a small, preliminary study led by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital. The study tested the effect of a single injection of the antibody MDX-CTLA4 in nine patients who had previously been treated with cancer vaccines for either metastatic melanoma or metastatic ovarian cancer. The result, in every patient who had received a particular kind of vaccine, was widespread death of cancer cells and an increase in the number of immune system cells within the tumors ? evidence of a potent immune system attack.

Anti-microbial peptide may improve cancer vaccines

Researchers have discovered that a molecule best known for its anti-microbial properties also has the ability to activate key cells in the immune response. This newly discovered function suggests the molecule, a peptide called ?-defensin 2, may be useful in the development of more effective cancer vaccines.

Wascally Waksal

Though not strictly a science story, the Wall Street Journal has a devastating profile this morning of Sam Waksal, founder of ImClone. It's a warning not only for directors of technology-based companies, but for investors and the media, who can be charmed by one person with a winning personality and a compelling story (in this case a promising cancer-fighting molecule). Terrific digging by reporter Geeta Anand reveals a string of research jobs from which Waksal was ousted for misleading and sometimes falsified results. Do yourself a favor and read this one through to the end. Suddenly Martha Stewart's alleged insider trading of ImClone stock seems like the least of anyone's worries about Waksal.

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