Brain Cancer Vaccine

One of the biggest dangers for cancer patients is relapse. In many cases, even when cancer is cured there’s a risk of it coming back, requiring the patient to go through the whole treatment ordeal again. Indeed, in many cases it comes back resistant to treatment.

Now researchers have created a way to help keep some cancers from coming back. At a conference in Miami, oncologic researchers announced success in trials of a process to create a cancer vaccine from tumors.

Glioblastoma multiforme, the specific kind of brain cancer for which the process was demonstrated to be effective, is the most common cancer affecting the brain, as well as the most aggressive. It kills thousands of Americans each year.

Vaccination has proven difficult, because each incidence—each tumor—is biologically unique. That means a general solution is unlikely to be effective, because no two patients’ tumors are alike. The scientists have now found a way to use the tumor tissue to create a vaccine against each person’s specific strain.

The next step is to test the treatment in combination with the current standard therapy. The hope is that the combination will be more effective than either alone.

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