Vaccine kick-starts immune response to cancer

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July 21, 2008 (AFP) – Researchers have developed a plant-based cancer vaccine capable of kick-starting the body’s immune response and being tailored to a patient’s specific tumor type, according to a study released Monday. While they have not yet determined whether the immune response is sufficient to destroy the cancer, the researchers are hopeful that the technique could one day lead to a cure for at lease some types of the deadly disease.

“This would be a way to treat cancer without side effects,” said senior author Ronald Levy of the Stanford University Medical Center.

“The idea is to marshal the body’s own immune system to fight cancer,” Levy said, adding that he’s optimistic he’ll get positive results from the next clinical trial.

“We know that if you get the immune system revved up, it can attack and kill cancer.”
The process has already successfully cured cancer in mice.

Levy’s team tested the vaccine on 16 patients who were recently diagnosed with follicular B-cell lymphoma, a chronic, incurable disease.

None of the patients experienced any significant side-effects and more than 70 percent of the patients developed an immune response, the study published in the Proceedings of the National