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New vaccine stimulates colorectal cancer patient's immune systems to fight cancerous cells

British researchers have developed a vaccine that stimulates colorectal cancer patients' immune systems to fight cancerous cells.

In a clinical trial of 67 patients, researchers at the University of Nottingham observed that when the vaccines were administered before and after surgery to remove cancerous tumors, they helped stimulated immune cell production in up to 70 percent of patients. These results are published in the November 15 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

"This is the first vaccine shown to stimulate TNF-alpha an immune-system protein that is very effective at killing cancer cells," said Lindy Durrant, senior author of the study and professor of cancer immunotherapy at the university.

The vaccine works by stimulating the patients' immune response to generate infection-fighting white blood cells called T cells, which in turn produce immune system proteins called cytokines that destroy cancer cells. The antibody contained in the vaccine, called 105AD7, was cloned from a patient who survived seven years with liver metastases from colorectal cancer, Durrant explained.

"This is very unusual as most patients die within one year of getting liver metastases," she said. "I thought if this antibody had helped this patient, if we could clone it, it might help others."

105AD7 is structurally similar to CD55, a protein that attaches to sugar molecules and is overexpressed in colorectal cancer cells, protecting them from attack by the body's immune system. While low levels of CD55 occur in all cells exposed to the immune system, increased expression of the protein has been observed in multiple types of tumors, including up to 80 percent of colorectal cancers.

During the trial -- the largest to date looking at 105AD7 plus surgery -- 67 patients with colorectal cancer who were scheduled for surgery to remove their primary tumor were randomly assigned to receive either 100 micrograms of 105AD7 with a powder to
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Contact: Yarissa Ortiz
ortiz@aacr.org
215-440-9300
American Association for Cancer Research
15-Nov-2006


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