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Vaccine for Pancreatic Cancer

Jan. 8, 2001 (Ivanhoe Newswire) --

A new vaccine may offer hope for pancreatic cancer patients.

A recent study found the vaccine is safe and effective in reaching immune system cells in patients.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore tested the new vaccine on 14 patients with pancreatic cancer.

Patients underwent surgery to remove the cancers and then received varying doses of the vaccine.

 The vaccine uses lab-grown pancreatic cancer cells genetically modified with an immune-boosting gene, known as GM-CSF.

The gene works by attracting immune cells to the site of the tumor vaccine.

There the cells recognize antigens found on cancer cells and cause the immune system to locate and kill cancer cells in other parts of the body.

Researchers found the vaccine was successful in stimulating the immune system in three patients who received the highest doses.

They have been disease-free for more than two and a half years after diagnosis.

The other 11 patients, who received lower doses of the vaccine, showed no significant immune response.

Elizabeth Jaffee, M.D., from Johns Hopkins, says, "We are encouraged to find it is safe and initiates an immune response in certain doses."

Future studies will further evaluate the vaccine's effectiveness. The second phase of the study could begin this summer.

Dr. Jaffee says, "Vaccines like this could be used to 'mop up' microscopic cancer cells left behind following surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation."

Copyright © 2001 Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc.