Study: Cancer Vaccine Cures 97 Percent of Tumors in Mice, Human Trials to Begin Soon

 Alexa Lardieri

A NEW VACCINE THAT cured 97 percent of cancerous tumors in mice has been approved for human trials.

The trial, called the Stanford Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Vaccine Study, is only for patients with low-grade B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Unlike a traditional vaccine, which creates continual immunity, the trial's vaccine-like injection carries two immune-stimulating drugs. These activate the immune system's T cells (cells important for fighting tumors) to eliminate tumors throughout the body and stop cancer cells from growing, according to the study.

Along with the vaccine, patients will receive radiation therapy during the study.

Stanford University oncology professor and lead researcher Dr. Ronald Levy and Stanford oncology professor Idit Sagiv-Barfi published the results of their mouse trial in January.

The human trial at Stanford University School of Medicine will include about 35 participants. It is among many researching immunotherapy, a type of treatment that uses a person's own immune system to fight cancer.

"Getting the immune system to fight cancer is one of the most recent developments in cancer," Levy told SFGate. "People need to know that this is in its early days and we are still looking for safety and looking to make this as good as it can be."

Both drugs have been approved for use on people and are safe. The trial is testing the combination of them. Minor side effects were reported in the mice trials, including fever and soreness at the injection site, according to Levy.

If the FDA does grant final approval, however, it won't be any sooner than a year or two, Levy told SFGate.

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