NEW YORK, N.Y., April 2, 1997 -- Physicians from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the University of Rochester's Cancer Center have created a promising compound that recruits the body's immune system to target and wipe out cancer cells in the liver. In a study with laboratory rats, the majority of animals injected with the vaccine were cancer-free, while similar animals that did not receive the vaccine typically had dozens of tumors. The work was reported in a recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Work on cancer vaccines is designed to focus the full force of the body's immune system on the area of the body under attack by cancer. While such research is widespread, this vaccine is one of the first to be created using gene therapy and to target liver cancer. It's also rare for a vaccine to completely eliminate the formation of cancerous tumors in animals or humans.
Lead author of the report is Yuman Fong, M.D., one of the world's leading liver cancer surgeons, at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Other authors include Howard Federoff, M.D./Ph.D., chief of the University of Rochester's Division of Molecular Medicine and Gene Therapy and professor in the Department of Neurology; Michael Brownlee, M.D., of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine; and Sloan-Kettering physicians Howard Karpoff, Michael D'Angelica, and Sarah Blair.
"We have been searching for a vaccine against liver cancer because the disease is so relentless given today's therapies," says Dr. Fong. The disease, striking more than two million people annually, is usually treated surgically, but in a majority of
cases the cancer returns and usually spreads more rapidly after surgery. Sloan-Kettering surgeons have pioneered methods to boost
Contact: Christine Westerman
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center