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Lot’s of interesting things are happening in cancer research and the article below, suggesting that cancer patients retain a portion of their tumor for future use, is extremely interesting. Take a moment to read this piece.
Banking on Success: Keeping Tumor Tissue for Use in Cancer Treatment
May 13, 2010
by Heather Mayer, DOTmed Staff Reporter
When Robert Gibbs, 41, was diagnosed with a Grade 2 brain tumor in 2004, he didn’t have many treatment options other than the traditional chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. But unfortunately for Gibbs, his 2005 surgery didn’t completely wipe out the cancer, and in 2008 it was back.
“I had everything going for me,” he said. “And it all came to a screeching halt.”
His second surgery left him legally blind and searching for a better treatment option. It was then he turned to a clinical trial testing a tumor vaccine called DCVax.
“Other than being legally blind due to the tumor, I’m going through no other treatment,” Gibbs, now six years cancer-free, told DOTmed News. “[The vaccine] works.”
The DCVax is a personalized cancer treatment that uses a patient’s own tumor cells, after surgery, to fight off remaining cancers, working like any other vaccine, explained Linda Powers, chair of the Northwest Biotherapeutics board, which manufacturers the vaccine.
“We found, although heartbreaking, a lot of patients are getting in touch with Northwest after the tumor tissue was thrown away,” Powers said of patients trying to participate in the company’s third clinical trial, currently underway.
Gibbs and his wife, Barb, co-founded the Florida-based national organization, Miles for Hope, in order to raise money for brain cancer research and to help spread the word about banking tumor tissue, which can be used in a treatment vaccine. The organization also helps people access clinical trials, which could save their lives, as it did for Gibbs.
“If it wasn’t for family or friends with frequent flyer miles, we may not have opted to participate [in the trial],” he said. “[Miles for Hope] makes sure people have access to cutting-edge treatment to save lives.”
Northwest Biotherapeutics, is not the first to come out with a personalized cancer vaccine. Dendreon was the first company to get FDA approval to commercially market a personalized vaccine for prostate cancer last month. But Northwest Biotherapeutics is following the trend of immune-system-based treatments.
Unlike Dendreon, Northwest Biotherapeutics uses individual patient tissue as opposed to a tumor-specific antigen, making DCVax even more personalized, explained Linda Liau, vice chair of neurosurgery at UCLA and the trial’s lead researcher.
“Everyone has written off immune therapies,” said Powers. “Finally, after all this time, the research community has continued to work on understanding the biology…Dendreon had FDA approval for immune therapy. There will be a flood of more immune therapies.”
Read the full article at http://www.dotmed.com/news/story/12673.