Peptide vaccine can produce complete remission in myeloid leukemia patients

SAN DIEGO - The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center offers these news items presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).

Researchers from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center are reporting the first study to show that vaccination with a peptide that is abnormally expressed on myeloid leukemia cells can produce a complete molecular remission in some patients.

The experimental vaccine produced an immune response in 60 percent of patients tested - or 20 of 33 evaluable patients, according to their study, which is being presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

Of those 20 patients who mounted an immune response against their cancer, 14 had an overall survival of four years, and none of the 13 patients who did not have such a response lived that long, they say. Three patients are in "molecular remission" in which there is no evidence of the disease remaining.

"These are very promising results in a group of patients who were quite sick, and who normally would live for just months," says the study's lead investigator, Jeffrey Molldrem, M.D., an associate professor in the Department of Blood & Marrow Transplantation.

"Not only can we say that some of these patients had an immune response, but they also went into remission, and that has never been demonstrated to occur after peptide vaccination before. And for patients who showed an immune response but did not go into remission, progression of their cancer was slowed down compared to patients who did not have an immune response to the vaccine," he says. "Of course, we have much more research to do, especially in testing greater numbers of patients within each disease group."

Nearly all of these patients had either active or relapsed acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) or refractory chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) - forms of leukemia in which there is a dangerous accumulation of immature

Contact: Nancy Jensen
713-794 1584
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

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