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Immunotherapy effective against neuroblastoma in children
Date:5/14/2009

the percentage of patients who were still alive without experiencing a recurrence after two years as well as overall survival in two groups of 113 patients each. Patients began the trial when they were newly diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma. After conventional treatment with surgery, chemotherapy, stem cell rescue and radiotherapy, one group was given the standard treatment (retinoic acid) plus immunotherapy (the antibody plus immune-boosting substances), while 113 similar patients received the standard treatment alone.

After two years, 66 percent of individuals in the immunotherapy group were living free of cancer compared to 46 percent in the standard treatment group. Overall survival improved significantly as well. The trial patient randomization was halted early because of the benefit seen, and all patients enrolled in the trial will receive immunotherapy plus standard treatment.

Yu noted that the two-year mark is especially important because past trials have shown that those neuroblastoma patients who live without disease for two years after a stem cell transplant will most likely be cured.

"This is the first time in many years that we have been able to improve the 'cure rate' for neuroblastoma patients," she said. "This new therapy can help us improve care and perhaps offer new hope to many patients and families."

Yu and her team conducted the early phase I and phase II trials at the General Clinical Research Center at UC San Diego Medical Center.


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Contact: Steve Benowitz
sbenowitz@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

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