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First US kidney cancer vaccine trial underway at Columbia

The first U.S. kidney cancer vaccine trial is now underway at Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia. While the potential for vaccines to treat solid tumors has been recognized for more than a decade, this trial is pioneering the use of tumor immunotherapy boosting the body's natural immune system as a way to fight cancer.

"Vaccines are an exciting prospect in cancer treatment and this trial is an example of our program's dedication to bringing the latest advances in tumor vaccines and immunotherapy to patients with cancer," said Howard L. Kaufman, M.D., associate professor of surgery and pathology at Columbia University Medical Center and director, Tumor Immunotherapy Program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia. "We expect that combining IL-2 with Trovax will double the treatment response rate for our kidney cancer patients, offering new hope for these patients."

Vaccines, usually associated with the prevention of infectious diseases, e.g., measles, help the body's immune system recognize and kill foreign invading organisms. Recent research has provided evidence that vaccines may also be useful for preventing or treating cancer. Tumor vaccines contain a specific protein of the tumor cell that stimulates an immune response.

In the study, patients with stage IV renal cell carcinoma are given regular doses of an investigational kidney cancer vaccine, called Trovax, in conjunction with Interleukin-2 (IL-2). High-dose IL-2 is currently the only approved treatment for kidney cancer, and Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia are the only site in New York to offer IL-2. Kidney cancer is one of the few cancers for which chemotherapies are not effective treatments.

A small protein (cytokine) naturally produced by the cells of the immune system, IL-2 stimulates T-cells, which are activated in an immune response system and create tumor killing cells. The
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Contact: Elizabeth Streich
eas2125@columbia.edu
212-305-6535
Columbia University Medical Center
27-Jan-2005


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