Experimental vaccines may extend life in pancreatic cancer

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Posted January 15, 2014
Experimental vaccines may extend life in pancreatic cancer
Treatment is less toxic than chemotherapy, researchers find.
Patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly malignancies, may live a little longer when treated with two therapeutic vaccines, new research suggests.

In a study of 90 patients, this combination approach—GVAX Pancreas vaccine followed by CRS-207 vaccine—improved survival by several months compared with GVAX alone, researchers found. The greatest gain was seen in patients who had at least two doses of GVAX and at least one dose of CRS-207, they noted.

“Average survival was basically double among those who received the combination compared with the control group,” said Stephen Isaacs, CEO of Aduro BioTech of Berkeley, Calif., which makes the vaccines and funded the trial.

Isaacs believes the effect would be even more dramatic for patients given the vaccines in an early stage of the disease.

“I think these vaccines may offer hope to patients in what has been a fairly dismal prognosis due to the severity of the disease,” he said.

Dr. Vincent Vinciguerra, a professor of medicine at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine in New York, said this approach is more targeted than chemotherapy and much less toxic.

“The hope with the vaccine is that you can attack the cancer cells by altering the immune system,” said Vinciguerra, who was not involved in the study.

Read more at: Phys.org

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