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Vaccine increases disease-free survival for follicular lymphoma patients
Date:5/31/2011

HOUSTON A lymphoma vaccine uniquely tailored for each patient extends disease-free survival by 14 months, with signs of an even better response for patients with a specific biological marker, a team led by scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reported today in the online version of Journal of Clinical Oncology.

"The study continues to show that the vaccine increases the usual time until relapse for follicular lymphoma by about 14 months. That's significant because most cancer drugs are approved on the basis of extending survival only a few months," said Larry Kwak, M.D., Ph.D., corresponding author of the study. Kwak, who invented the vaccine while at the National Cancer Institute, chairs M. D. Anderson's Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma.

"These results have the potential to usher in a new age of cancer vaccines," he said. "I believe a whole flood of agents will soon begin to show positive results."

The multi-center study is the first successful phase III trial of a lymphoma vaccine and one of the first of a personalized cancer therapy agent. Initial results were presented in part at the Plenary Session of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in 2009.

Tumors' proteins used to tune immune system attack

Kwak, who has devoted 20 years to investigating the science of cancer vaccines, specifically a personalized therapy for follicular lymphoma, was named in 2010 as one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people.

"This vaccine is a true example of a homegrown agent we've taken from bench to bedside," he said. "We discovered it in the laboratory, and we've taken it all the way through the clinical trial process. Now its approval as a commercial drug may be imminent."

To make the vaccine, unique proteins from each patient's tumor are isolated and combined with a delivery agent and a growth factor. This mixture then is injected back int
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Contact: Scott Merville
smerville@mdanderson.org
713-792-0661
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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