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Study Suggests Vaccine May Help Kids With Brain Cancer
Date:4/3/2012

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Some of the children experienced what is called "pseudoprogression" after receiving the vaccine, which means that the tumor temporarily grew and the disease symptoms worsened, but the tumor later got smaller and the disease stabilized, the study authors explained in the news release.

"The fact that we've seen tumor shrinkage in children with very high-risk tumors has been extremely encouraging and somewhat surprising," Pollack noted.

Commenting on the study findings, Dr. John Yu, director of surgical neuro-oncology and vice chair of the department of neurosurgery at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said that the impact on the immune systems of the patients is impressive.

"The safe and potentially effective nature of this vaccine would give thousands of patients new hope," Yu said. "Although one cannot glean whether this will improve their overall survival while maintaining a good quality of life, it provides some hope that harnessing the power of the immune system to fight off the brainstem glioma may kill tumor cells and provide a novel means of fighting off their disease."

Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

For more about pediatric brain cancer, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCES: John S. Yu, M.D., director of surgical neuro-oncology and vice chair, department of neurosurgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles; April 2, 2012, presentation, American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, Chicago


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