"If I had listened to that first doctor, I would not be here today. If not for Dr. Liau, I would not be here today," Silver said. "I'm 100 percent back to being me because of this vaccine and that clinical trial. It's almost unbelievable."
The vaccine preparation is personalized for each individual. After the tumor is removed, Liau and her team extract the proteins, which provide the antigens for the vaccine to target. After radiation and chemotherapy, the white blood cells are taken from the patient and grown into dendritic cells, a type of white blood cell that is an antigen-presenting cell. The vaccine preparation from this point takes about two weeks, as the dendritic cells are grown together with the patient's own tumor antigens. The tumor-pulsed dendritic cells are then injected back in to the body, prompting the T cells to go after the tumor proteins and fight the malignant cells.
"The body may have trouble fighting cancer because the immune system doesn't recognize it as a foreign invader," Liau said. "The dendritic cells activate the patient's T cells to attack the tumor, basically teaching the immune system to respond to the tumor."
The individualized vaccine is injected into the patient in three shots given every two weeks for a total of six weeks. Booster shots are given once every three months until the cancer recurs. Patients are scanned every two months to monitor for disease recurrence, Liau said.
|Contact: Kim Irwin|
University of California - Los Angeles