A new clinical trial for a vaccine to treat glioma has shown promising results at UCSF Medical Center, USA. As a part of the trial, a group of six patients was administered vitespen, a vaccine made from the patient's tumor. The vaccine contained a “fingerprint” of the patient’s specific cancer. Preliminary observation of vitespen vaccination revealed that it was successful in reprogramming the participant’s immune system and affected only those cancer cells that bore the fingerprints. Glioma is a central nervous system tumor that usually occurs in the brain.
In a similar development, nanotechnology shows promising results in killing brain tumor cells. Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center conducted a study on rats with cancer. The rats were divided into two groups; the first group was administered the regular Photofrin therapy and the second group was treated with the Photofrin/nanoparticle method. The results of the experiment showed that the rats of the first group survived only for 13 days while those in the second group survived for 33 days. Also, the disease did not recur in 40 per cent of these rats even six months later. By using nanoparticles to direct Photofrin to target only cancerous tumor cells, the researchers have highlighted the possibility of a complete cure from brain cancer.
Meanwhile, scientists of the Emory University, in partnership with researchers at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, have discovered a biomarker of brain tumor. They found that levels of soluble attractin in the cerebrospinal fluid increased when the person is suffering from brain tumor. Since this biomarker can be detected only when there is a tumor in the central nervous system, the researchers are hopeful that it will help doctors track the response of the tumor to the treatment with a minimally invasive procedure.
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