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When standard treatment fails: Jefferson to start unique immunotherapy for brain tumor patients
Date:12/14/2011

PHILADELPHIA -- Physicians at the Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience (JHN), the region's only dedicated hospital for neuroscience, are tackling a particularly aggressive brain cancer that even surgery, chemotherapy and radiation often fail to treat with a promising new immunotherapy to attack a patient's tumor with their own cancer cells.

Starting as early as January, the first of 12 patients diagnosed with a malignant astrocytoma from a clinical trial led by David W. Andrews, M.D., Co-Director of the Brain Tumor Center of the Kimmel Cancer Center at JHN, will receive a "cancer Trojan horse" that could significantly shrink their tumor and possibly extend their life.

Considering patients with malignant astrocytomas rarely live past four months, a new treatment method is highly needed.

Here's how the immunotherapy works. The patient's cancer cells are removed during surgery and then treated with a type of therapy that turns off a growth factor receptor, which plays a critical role in cell survival. Without it, cancer cells die.

Those same cells are then placed in a diffusion chamber (to keep the cells from spreading back into the body), re-implanted back into the patient within a day and then retrieved up to two days laterthis is what makes it stand out from other immunotherapies. During their time in the body, those reinserted, extracted tumor cells communicate a message to the other tumor cells to dieand tell the body's immune system to help do it.

Looking Back to Move Forward

The clinical trial comes off the heels of successful animal research and a

Contact: Steve Graff
stephen.graff@jefferson.edu
215-955-5291
Thomas Jefferson University
Source:Eurekalert  

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