The series of animal tests needed to prepare for a first human trial will take perhaps two years, Kast said. As for marketing the vaccine, he added, "I have already started to talk to some companies about this."
A precedent for such use already exists in the form of the vaccine against cervical cancer that is in medical use in the United States, Kast noted.
A new urine test that could help narrow the number of men diagnosed with possible prostate cancer was also described in the same issue of the journal.
"It is an extension of a current test," said Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan, director of the University of Michigan Center for Translational Pathology and lead author of the report.
The current test, developed at Michigan and marketed by the biotechnology company Gen-Probe, screens for one molecular marker of prostate cancer. The new test screens for four more key markers.
"It is for early screening to supplement PSA testing," Chinnaiyan said. "The benefit of this is that it could spare some people from some unnecessary biopsies. Eighty percent of men with high PSA levels don't have cancer. This could pick up 80 percent of them."
Both reports brought guarded reaction from Dr. Durado Brooks, director of prostate and colorectal cancers for the American Cancer Society.
The California work, Brook said, "is an interesting direction in terms of a way to develop a vaccine, but it is a long way from clinical use."
As for the new test, he added, while it could possibly reduce the number of biopsies, it does not fulfill the big hope for prostate cancer tests: distinguishing between slow-growing cancers that are best left alone and fast-growing malignancies that require quick and aggressive treatment.
"We really need a better handle on which prostate cancers will be more aggressive," he said.
Meanwhile, researchers at the U.S. National Cancer Institute r
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