"The five-year survival is less than 5 percent for glioblastoma, and the average survival is about two years," Liau said. "We have several patients that are at eight and 10 years, and one who's at 12 years, but not everybody responds. One thing we have found is there are probably certain genetic subtypes that are more amenable to [vaccines]."
It's just those types of genetic differences that Hardacre said will probably keep researchers from being able to develop a universal cancer vaccine.
"I would find it hard to believe that there could be a single vaccine to deal with multiple types of cancers," he said.
For more about cancer vaccines, go to the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
Read about the development of cervical cancer vaccines.
SOURCES: Jeffrey Hardacre, M.D., associate professor, surgery, and section head, pancreatic surgery, Seidman Cancer Center, University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio; Linda Liau, M.D., professor, neurosurgery, and director, brain tumor program, University of California, Los Angeles
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