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Personalized vaccine for lymphoma patients extends disease-free survival by nearly 2 years
Date:12/6/2010

(ORLANDO, Fla.) A personalized vaccine is a powerful therapy to prevent recurrence among certain follicular lymphoma patients, according to the latest results of ongoing research led by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. The new findings show that when these patients whose tumors are marked by a specific protein that may be present in up to half of people with this type of cancer -- receive a vaccine made from their own tumor cells, disease-free survival is improved by nearly two years, compared with patients who receive a placebo. Based on the new analysis, the team thinks they can explain why the results of previous trials of similar therapeutic cancer vaccines were not as strong as expected.

"The treatment effect of the personalized vaccine is stunning in our trial," says Stephen J. Schuster, MD, an associate professor in the division of Hematology-Oncology and director of the Lymphoma Program at Penn's Abramson Cancer Center. Schuster will present data from a randomized, double-blind, phase III multicenter clinical trial on Monday, Dec. 6 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH). "Our work stands to revolutionize the approach to personalized vaccine development in lymphoma, and bring new hope to patients who are diagnosed with all types of the disease. This is paradigm changing," Schuster says.

The majority of follicular lymphoma patients who make up about 30 percent of the 66,000 patients diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma each year -- initially respond to monoclonal antibody therapy and chemotherapy but later suffer a relapse. They may be helped by subsequent rounds of chemotherapy, but eventually their disease becomes resistant to these drugs.

Each patient's lymphoma tumor carries a unique protein on the cell surface, called an idiotype protein. The idiotype protein is part of a larger protein on the cell's surface which can be one of several so-called "isotypes", usually either the
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Contact: Holly Auer
holly.auer@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5659
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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