New vaccine may help cure skin cancer

April 11th, 2010 - 2:40 pm ICT by IANS  

London, April 11 (IANS) A new vaccine may soon spell the end for the agony of skin cancer victims, say researchers.
The new vaccine called “OncoVEX” attacks tumour cells, leaving healthy cells undamaged, and carries agents that boost the body’s response to melanoma. It will help to recover completely from melanoma, even in its advanced stages.

“Our study shows we may have a cure for some advanced melanoma patients and a drug which has real benefits for others. This will save thousands of lives a year,” quoted Howard Kaufman of Chicago’s Rush University Medical Centre as saying.

“What surprised us was that the jab did not have an effect just on the cells we injected but on growths in other parts of the body that we couldn’t reach. In other words, the vaccine prompted an immune response that was circulated through the blood-stream to distant sites,” Kaufman added.

BioVex, the company behind the vaccine, is now recruiting more than 400 patients for the final phases of its trial.

An earlier trial involved 50 patients with advanced melanoma who had been given six to nine months to live. The findings revealed that 16 percent recovered completely and have been disease-free for more than four years while 28 percent saw a more than 50 percent reduction in the size of their tumours.

Unlike most cancer treatments patients can go home or back to work immediately after the jab, which was administered every two weeks for up to 24 injections or until the disease disappeared.

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