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Resisting lung cancer recurrence
Date:2/4/2008

(New York, February 5th) -- What if we could prevent cancer recurrence for years after surgery by giving simple recall injections every two or three years" This concept may no longer be a fantasy. In a clinical study published online this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, a team headed by the international Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR) has shown that a vaccine against a protein found in cancer cells produces an immune response that can be boosted and strengthened with additional vaccine shots. Patients with resected non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) were treated with this investigational agent, also known as an Antigen-Specific Cancer Immunotherapeutic (ASCI), in another clinical study conducted by GlaxoSmithKline. The results showed a reduction in risk of cancer recurrence in these patients, a finding that prompted GlaxoSmithKline to initiate the largest ever clinical trial in lung cancer (MAGRIT study).

According to LICRs Dr. Sacha Gnjatic, the senior author of this LICR-sponsored study, the long immunological memory is exactly what cancer immunologists are hoping to see. Vaccines against infectious diseases induce immunological responses that typically last for years, and ideally we want a cancer vaccine that does the same thing. We previously learned that our vaccine could stimulate an immune response recognizing a protein found in lung cancer cells but we did not know how long the response lasted. We now know that this vaccine induces strong and persistent immunity over several years, which can be further boosted with additional vaccination. Dr. Gnjatic said that the booster shots, given two years after the first cycle of vaccinations, not only reactivated the initial immune response in patients who received the priming vaccination, it also diversified the types of immune cells specific for the cancer protein. Weve not only kept the immune system interested, weve also got it to more broadly recognize t
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Contact: Sarah L. White, Ph.D.
swhite@licr.org
917-379-0398
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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