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Dendritic-Cell Vaccine Induces Complete Remission in Neuroblastoma Patient

T-cells are ‘taught’ to kill cancer (Jan. 29)

One year after his last treatment, a 6-year-old boy with recurrent neuroblastoma is in complete remission for his high-risk metastatic cancer. Researchers reported the case study in the January 2013 issue of Pediatrics.

Current treatments for patients with high-risk neuroblastoma include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, stem-cell transplant, and immunotherapy. Less than half of the children survive in spite of intensive standard therapy. The long-term survival rate after relapse is less than 5%.

Previous clinical trials in adult solid tumors have successfully used cancer-specific targets (NY-ESO-1, MAGE-A1, and MAGE-A3) to kill cancer cells. Now, researchers at the University of Louisville have used these targets for neuroblastoma by creating a dendritic-cell vaccine that causes the body’s immune system to attack the tumor cells. Dendritic cells are immune cells collected from the patient and grown in cultures after they are exposed to specific antigens. The dendritic cells “teach” the patient’s T-cells to seek out and kill the cancer cells after they are returned to the patient through a series of injections.

Cancer treatment vaccines differ from other vaccines in that they treat active cancers or help to prevent recurrence.

In the case study, 1 year after the patient’s last vaccination, the tumors cells that were located in the boy’s bone marrow disappeared, and he now shows no evidence of disease.

The new study, which includes children with sarcomas as well as neuroblastoma, will be completed in 2013.

Source: Solving Kids’ Cancer; January 29, 2013.

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