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U-M researchers advocate national strategic approach to therapeutic cancer vaccines
Date:6/8/2011

ricans died from these cancers in 2010more deaths than from breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. Davis suggests that therapeutic vaccines can be used to improve the survival rates of patients with leukemia, lung cancer and pancreatic cancer and also for less common tumors that have similarly poor survival rates.

In 2010, the first cancer therapeutic vaccine was approved for specific forms of prostate cancer. Davis calls it "a major milestone for the entire class of therapeutic cancer vaccines in the United States."

Current research suggests it may be easier for scientists to develop specific vaccines, but Davis emphasizes that what is scientifically easiest may not necessarily benefit the broadest and largest groups of patients.

"While pharmaceutical research and development clearly can lead to exciting advances in care, it may take a strategic plan to help channel creative energy and effort into certain products that maximize benefit for the greatest number of patients over the shortest time frame," says Davis.

A strategic plan could include targeted funding for research and clinical trials that test specific vaccine candidates, explains Davis.

With currently available treatments, two out of every three people in the United States who are diagnosed with cancer survive for at least five years, according to the National Cancer Institute. Complications from these treatments can reduce patients' quality of life, though. Vaccines may potentially offer fewer side effects.

"While it is too early to claim success for therapeutic cancer vaccines, they offer patients and families facing cancer a new ray of hope," concludes Davis.


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Contact: Imran Hyder
imranh@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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