Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pancreatic Cancer Vaccine Halts Progression Of Disease In Some Patients

Date:
April 20, 2007
Source:
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Summary:
A dendritic cell-based therapeutic vaccine for pancreatic cancer developed by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has successfully stalled the disease from progressing in a handful of patients three years post-vaccination. The results provide promising evidence that the vaccine can trigger a patient's own immune system to rally against pancreatic cancer.

A dendritic cell-based therapeutic vaccine for pancreatic cancer developed by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has successfully stalled the disease from progressing in a handful of patients three years post-vaccination. The results, part of a press briefing on cancer vaccines held at the annual meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research in Los Angeles, provide promising evidence that the vaccine can trigger a patient's own immune system to rally against pancreatic cancer and offer new insights into how the vaccine could be made even more effective. The study is abstract number 4896 in the meeting proceedings.

"Pancreatic cancer is extremely resistant to chemotherapy and radiation and, as a result, has a very high mortality rate," said Andrew Lepisto, Ph.D., first author of the study and post-doctoral researcher, department of immunology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "One strategy to improve the odds of survival is to help the immune system recognize the presence of pancreatic cancer cells and attack them. Our study, although small, demonstrates that this strategy can be used with some success in pancreatic cancer patients by slowing down, or even stopping, the progression of cancer."

The Pitt team created a therapeutic vaccine for pancreatic cancer made up of a synthetic version of MUC1 -- a tumor-associated protein that is expressed by pancreatic tumor cells -- combined with the patient's own dendritic cells, which act as the quarterbacks of the immune system by coordinating its attack against foreign invaders.

The current study, the fourth in a series of MUC1 vaccine trials at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, included 12 patients with pancreatic cancer who received the vaccine by injection once every three weeks for a total of three doses and were given a booster dose six months later. Four patients demonstrated a stable and continuous presence of antibodies against MUC1 and have no evidence of disease more than three years after the vaccination was completed and close to five years after diagnosis and surgery.

The research team also examined the specific immune response to the vaccine by sampling the blood of the patients involved in the study. They found that all the patients had an active immune response to the vaccine. They also learned the number of suppressor T cells, a special type of T cell that stifles the activation of the immune system, increased following each vaccine injection, potentially limiting the greater efficacy of the vaccine.

"As we move forward in this research, we will be looking at ways to improve the vaccine by preventing the activation of suppressor T cells," said Dr. Lepisto. "One way to do this is to use additional therapies that specifically target these cells in combination with the vaccine."

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to treat because it is undetectable by a physical exam, asymptomatic and progresses quickly. Most patients die within six months of diagnosis. These factors limit the amount of data available for research, hindering significant advances in the understanding and treatment of the disease.

Co-investigators of the study and senior authors are Olivera Finn, Ph.D., leader, Immunology Program, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, and professor and chair, department of immunology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and Ramesh Ramanathan, M.D., previously with the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. The study was funded by grants from the Lustgarten Foundation, the National Cancer Institute and the Nathan Arenson Fund for Pancreatic Cancer Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Pancreatic Cancer Vaccine Halts Progression Of Disease In Some Patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070417150739.htm>.
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. (2007, April 20). Pancreatic Cancer Vaccine Halts Progression Of Disease In Some Patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070417150739.htm
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Pancreatic Cancer Vaccine Halts Progression Of Disease In Some Patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070417150739.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Herman Goldman has worked at the same lighting store for almost 75 years. Find out his secrets to a happy, productive life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patient Apparently Improving, Outbreak Is Not

American Ebola Patient Apparently Improving, Outbreak Is Not

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Nancy Writebol, an American missionary who contracted Ebola, is apparently getting better, according to her husband. The outbreak, however, is not. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins