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Promising Results for Experimental Lymphoma Vaccine
Tailored Vaccine Turns Cancer Cells Against Themselves
ABC News
By MICHAEL SMITH
MedPage Today North American Correspondent
May 31, 2009

A vaccine that uses cancer cells against themselves significantly slows the progress of
a deadly form of blood cancer, a researcher said at the annual meeting of the
American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
PHOTO A vaccine that uses cancer cells against themselves significantly slows the
progress of a deadly form of blood cancer, a researcher said here.
A vaccine that uses cancer cells against themselves significantly slows the progress of
a deadly form of blood cancer, a researcher said at the annual meeting of the
American Society of Clinical Oncology.
(ABC News Photo Illustration)

In patients with follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, the vaccine -- dubbed BiovaxID --
nearly doubled the time before the disease recurred, compared with a control drug,
according to Dr. Stephen Schuster of the University of Pennsylvania School of
Medicine in Philadelphia.

In the small trial -- 76 patients got the vaccine and 41 did not -- the vaccine extended
time to relapse by more than a year: 44 months versus 30 months.

"The problem with this kind of lymphoma is that chemotherapy doesn't actually cure
anybody," said ASCO president Dr. Richard Schilsky of the University of Chicago
Medical Center, who was not involved in the study.
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"They all go into remission with chemotherapy but they all relapse," Schilsky said.
"Each time you use chemotherapy, the remission lasts less time and eventually they
just become refractory."

So, he said, "The longer you can keep them in remission the better."

The therapeutic vaccine is tailored to each patient's cancer and given with a drug that
stimulates the immune system, Schuster said during the annual ASCO meeting.

"We've now moved into an era where we can safely use a patient's immune system to
effectively fight follicular lymphoma and enhance the response to conventional
chemotherapy," Schuster said in a statement.

The key outcome is that in a "v
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