Researchers plot leukemia vax trial

Researchers at King's College London are planning a small trial that will test the first vaccine for leukemia. Subjects with acute myeloid leukemia (AML)--the most common form of the disease in adults--will be given a vaccine made from their own cells. The cells are treated in a lab to include genes that help identify the leukemia, and then re-introduced to the patient via vaccine. That effectively focuses and boosts the immune system's ability to seek out and destroy cancer cells. ''It is the same concept as normal vaccines," explains Professor Farzin Farzaneh of King's College London. "The immune system is made to see something as foreign and can then destroy it itself. This has the chance to be curative."

The therapy is first being tested on those who've received chemotherapy and a bone-marrow transplant, with the goal of preventing recurrence. If successful, the trial will be expanded to patients who've not undergone a transplant, and researchers hope that one day the drug could be used to treat other types of cancers.

- check out the King's College release
- read this report for more