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Researchers Work on Melanoma Vaccine

Posted: June 2, 2009

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The study, which was to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Orlando, Florida, was funded in part by Novartis, which makes Interleukin-2. "Obviously this is a disease, in its advanced setting, in need of better therapies for our patients," study co-author Dr. Patrick Hwu, a professor and chairman of M.D. Anderson's Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology, said in a news release from the center. "While more follow-up is needed, this study serves as a proof-of-principle for vaccines' role in melanoma and in cancer therapy overall. If we can use the body's own defense system to attack tumor cells, we provide a mechanism for ridding the body of cancer without destroying healthy tissue."

The vaccine, called gp100:209-217 (200M), works by stimulating T-cells, which control immune response. "This vaccine activates the body's cytotoxic T-cells to recognize antigens on the surface of the tumor," Hwu said. "The T-cells then secrete enzymes that poke holes in the tumor cell's membrane, causing it to disintegrate."

More information

The Skin Cancer Foundation has more about melanoma.

HealthDay News, May 30, 2009