November 28, 2010
Vaccine Prevents Colon Cancer Recurrence

Initiating an immune response prevented recurrence of a colon cancer that had metastasized to the liver.

"The results of the study suggest a new way to approach cancer treatment," said Richard Barth Jr., MD, Chief of General Surgery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and a member of the Gastrointestinal Clinical Oncology Group at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center, who is the study's principal investigator. "Basically, we've worked out a way to use dendritic cells, which initiate immune responses, to induce an antitumor response."

So the cancer had already mutated the ability to metastatize and had created a secondary tumor in the liver big enough to identify and remove. In these cases the odds are very high the tumor has landed in other places and the removal from the liver just buys some time. But in those patients who had tumors removed from their livers and who produced an immune response to the vaccine most unexpectedly survived over 5 years.

In the study, Barth first operated on 26 patients to remove tumors that had spread from the colon to the liver. While some of these patients would be expected to be cured with surgery alone, most of them would eventually die from tiny metastases that were undetectable at the time the tumors were removed from the liver. The DC vaccine treatment was given one month after surgery. The results were that T-cell immune responses were induced against the patient's own tumor in more than 60% of the patients. The patients were followed for a minimum of 5.5 years.; Five years after their vaccine treatment, 63% of the patients who developed an immune response against their own tumor were alive and tumor-free. In contrast, just 18% of the patients who did not develop an immune response against their own tumor were alive and tumor-free.

Since they were followed for a minimum of 5.5 years these people were treated in 2004 and even earlier. So if this vaccine were widely available for the last 5 years lots more people would be alive. I wonder when the vaccine will become widely available. If it was up to me it would become immediately available. But I do not think like FDA bureaucrats.

What about the people who do not produce an immune response to the tumor is their immune system weakened by chemo or radiation? Or is their immune system too old or are they poorly nourished? Or does their immune system just lack the antibodies that could respond to the antigens? Or what?

He said DC vaccines have been a research interest at many institutions, and previous studies showed that DC vaccines could not reduce or eliminate measurable metastatic tumor deposits. "It turned out we were asking the T-cells to do too much," he commented. "The small number of T-cells that are generated by a vaccine can't destroy a large tumor. However, what they may be able to do is search out and destroy tumor cells that exist as only microscopic tumor deposits. Once we brought patients into a measurable tumor-free condition with surgery, the anti-tumor T-cells induced by the DC vaccine may help keep them that way."

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 November 28 06:27 PM  Biotech Cancer


Comments
Jake said at November 28, 2010 8:12 PM:

That is exactly the way Vitamin D prevents cancer. It induces the T-cells to go after and kill random cancer cells. In effect, Vitamin D makes the immune system more intelligent so it can differentiate foreign cancer cells from normal cells. Shoot for a Vitamin D level of 70 to achieve this cancer killing property.

Dentin said at November 29, 2010 9:08 AM:

Jake, that's an unsupported statement. While it may possibly be true, asserting it as though it were, when we don't have sufficient experimental evidence to support it, is misinformation.

Rich said at November 29, 2010 11:20 AM:

Have they found the elixir of eternal youth? Scientists reverse the ageing process in landmark trial. here Tell Glenn he always likes these

Michael Kennedy said at November 29, 2010 12:11 PM:

Forty years ago, when I was a medical student, we learned that squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck was incurable if the patient showed lack of reaction to a standard immune response agent, phytohemagglutinin. Good response was accompanied by good prognosis. The immune system has always been the key. About the same time, a UCLA medical student with metastatic melanoma in his arm was given a skin test with phytohemagglutinin and the melanoma vanished for 10 years. He was a friend of mine.

CornFuzed said at November 29, 2010 12:38 PM:

Dentin - how many people died last year from taking Vit D. (none) How many from cancer ?? You must think these things all the way through

Pam said at November 29, 2010 1:14 PM:

Is there a reason this vaccine couldn't be used to prevent colon cancer altogether? I have a fairly long family history of colon cancer, and assume I will get it unless a colonoscopy prevents it. Unfortunately, those aren't as fool-proof as we once thought. I'd love to be able to get a vaccine.

BBM said at November 29, 2010 1:47 PM:

CornFuzed:

And how many died from drinking water?

That doesn't mean drinking water prevents cancer.

Vit D may reduce cancer risk (only association studies have been done so far to my knowledge), but we still don't know how it would have that effect.

Dentin is right. The statement is unsupported.

Jake said at November 30, 2010 1:03 AM:

BBM Dentin

Read this report. "Vitamin D for Cancer Prevention: Global Perspective"

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19523595

It reviews the epidemiological findings supporting the cancer prevention properties of Vitamin D plus explains the mechanisms that Vitamin D uses to do its magic.

Oh by the way, you might review the 42,000 Vitamin D studies that are listed in pub med. I have reviewed over 5,000 of them and still going at it.


Jerry Martinson said at November 30, 2010 2:56 AM:

"What about the people who do not produce an immune response to the tumor is their immune system weakened by chemo or radiation? Or is their immune system too old or are they poorly nourished? Or does their immune system just lack the antibodies that could respond to the antigens? Or what?"

I'm not an oncologist, but at the microscopic level I think there are many different subtypes of colorectal cancers. Most cause CEA antigen to increase, some do not. It wouldn't surprise me if a lot of the people who failed to have an immune response had a different subtype of colon cancer.

I wish they had this vaccine (assuming it really does work) a few years ago... it could have perhaps helped out some people I know.

Lynette Rablin said at September 29, 2012 6:42 PM:

My Husband has been battling Stage IV Colon Cancer for 3 and half yrs. He just had the Y-90 treatment He only had two small tumors in his liver at the time. We are still waiting for the results. His Oncologist wants Him to do Chemo every week for the rest of His life. Is there any way He could get access to this vaccine. I would appreciate any information you could give me Thank You, Lyn

Lynette Rablin said at September 29, 2012 6:46 PM:

My Husband has been battling Stage IV Colon Cancer for 3 and half yrs. He just had the Y-90 treatment He only had two small tumors in his liver at the time. We are still waiting for the results. His Oncologist wants Him to do Chemo every week for the rest of His life. Is there any way He could get access to this vaccine. I would appreciate any information you could give me Thank You, Lyn

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