Training the immune system to fight ovarian cancer
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IMAGE: The personalized vaccine is composed of the patient’s dendritic cells, which were harvested from serum samples (steps 4-6). The cells were then exposed to a solution of material previously gathered… view more 

Credit: J.L. Tanyi et al., Science Translational Medicine (2018)

A personalized cancer vaccine safely and successfully boosted immune responses and increased survival rates in patients with ovarian cancer, according to results from a pilot clinical trial. The study supports the use of a cancer treatment that combines different immunotherapies to better tackle advanced ovarian cancer – a deadly disease that is often undiagnosed until later stages. The standard treatment for advanced ovarian cancer consists of surgery followed by platinum-based chemotherapy. However, many patients still relapse after receiving this regimen, with no curative treatment options available. Seeking to develop much-needed new therapies, Janos Tanyi and colleagues created a personalized vaccine for 25 patients with advanced, recurrent ovarian cancer. The vaccine consists of immune response-triggering dendritic cells derived from the patient’s own blood that have been exposed to tumor material, which can train T cells to identify and infiltrate tumors. The authors administered the vaccine to the patients either alone or in combination with two drugs that modulate

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