Leukaemia vaccine developed5th January 2010
Scientists at King's College London have created a vaccine which could be used to prevent leukaemia returning after patients have undergone bone marrow transplants or chemotherapy.
The researchers are hopeful that the vaccine might be used to protect against other kinds of cancers.
A small group of patients who suffer from Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) will receive the vaccine as part of a trial in 2010.
Leukaemia affects the white blood cells and bone marrow in the body. 4,300 deaths are caused by the cancer every year in the UK and over half the people diagnosed with the disease die within five years of being diagnosed.
The vaccine stimulates the immune system to find cancer cells and eradicate them. It also prevents a relapse of the disease by prompting the immune system to spot leukaemia cells if they reoccur.
The vaccine was created by taking cells from patients' blood and changing them so they can effectively target leukaemia cells.
Previous experiments using mice revealed that the vaccine lengthened their life expectancy by "the equivalent of 25 years" and 50% of the mice did not suffer a relapse of any kind.
Prof Farzin Farzaneh, Professor of Molecular Medicine at King's College London, said if the trials worked on human patients then the vaccine could be "rolled out" to treat other types of leukaemia and cancers.
"It is the same concept as normal vaccines. The immune system is made to see something as foreign and can then destroy it itself. This has the chance to be curative."
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Title: Leukaemia vaccine developed
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 13638
Date Added: 5th Jan 2010