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Cancer vaccine tested on terminal patients

Photo: UK trial tests terminal cancer vaccine
A UK trial is examining whether a vaccine can help the body's immune system destroy cancer cells in terminally ill patients.

A trial has been launched in the UK to test a new vaccine for terminal cancer.

The immunotherapy trial will examine whether a vaccine is effective in stimulating the body's own immune system to destroy cancer cells.

Two patients have already received the vaccine as part of the trial, which is expected to run for up to two years.

Immunotherapy is generating great interest in the cancer research community. In February, experts in the US announced they had seen "extraordinary" results in early trials involving terminally ill patients with blood cancer.
The UK trial - in Guildford and London - is for people with solid tumours and is recruiting those who have failed on previous types of cancer treatment.

All patients with any solid tumour, irrespective of their type of cancer, are believed to have the potential to benefit from immunotherapy.

Professor Hardev Pandha, who is leading the trial at the Surrey Cancer Research Institute, said: "We know that the immune system in patients with advanced cancer is suppressed, so it's unable to recognise and kill cancer calls.

"In this trial we are investigating a form of immunotherapy designed to activate the body's immune system by administration of a vaccine based on fragments of a key cancer protein."

The new Vaper trial involves a vaccine and an immunity stimulating cream applied to the injection site to help the vaccine work better.

Patients will also take low-dose chemotherapy tablets and some people will also have celecoxib, which is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.

Life sciences minister George Freeman said: "This trial is pushing new boundaries for potential cancer treatments, and brings new hope for patients in the fight against cancer.

"The prospect of a vaccine to help the body's immune system fight advanced cancer highlights the ground-breaking work being delivered by our world-leading life sciences sector, supported through the Government's continued investment in the National Institute for Health Research."

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