Personalized cancer vax improves survival rates

A personalized cancer vaccine derived by mixing a patient's dendritic immune cells with an immune stimulator significantly improved the survival rates of a group of people afflicted by metastatic melanoma.

The vaccine blended each patient's own dendritic cells and 500 micrograms of granulocyte-colony stimulating factor, which acts as an immune stimulator, three times a week and then monthly for five months for a total of up to eight injections. The patient's dendritic cells were obtained from their peripheral blood and mixed with a cell culture of the patient's own melanoma cells that had been self-renewing and proliferating in the laboratory. The patient-specific vaccine is designed to stimulate the patient's immune system to react against tumor stem cells or early progenitor cells that can create new depots of cancer throughout the body. Data showed that the projected five-year survival rate is 54 percent at a median follow up of 4.5 years for the 30 surviving patients.

"The one-year and projected five-year survival rates of 85 percent and 54 percent, respectively, are remarkable for melanoma patients with documented metastatic disease," said Dr. Dillman from Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian. "This study is extremely encouraging and shows the potential these types of personalized cancer vaccines have for patients diagnosed with metastatic melanoma."

- read the press release