New Discoveries and Honors in Cancer Research

Read the latest cancer research and recognition from the members of the Damon Runyon scientific circle.
April 9, 2019
New Cancer Vaccine Activates Immune System to Destroy Tumors

Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Joshua Brody, MD, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and his colleagues report a promising new cancer vaccine that activates the immune system to fight tumors throughout the body. In a small clinical trial of advanced-stage lymphoma patients, the “in situ” vaccination shrunk tumors in many participants. In three patients, the combination treatment also reduced other malignant tumors throughout their bodies. Those three patients went into full remission for months or years.The vaccine, which is not preventative, trains the immune system to recognize tumors and attack them. Researchers first injected cancerous masses with a drug to recruit immune dendritic cells to the tumor, then applied a low dose of radiation and a second drug to the cancerous growth. The dendritic cells then triggered the immune T cells to kill cancerous cells throughout the body, while sparing non-cancerous cells. "The in situ vaccine approach has broad implications for multiple types of cancer," says Dr. Brody. The results have warranted larger trials for lymphoma, breast, and head and neck cancer patients, which already opened to test the vaccine in combination with checkpoint blockade drugs, another form of immunotherapy.

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