What a shocking development. With small pulses of electricity, scientists have merged human-tumor and immune cells to create personalized vaccines against a deadly cancer.
In the first trial of this strategy in people, 7 of 17 patients with kidney cancer that had spread to other tissues developed tumor-specific immune responses after several vaccinations with the fused cells. Indeed, while conventional therapy keeps alive fewer than 10 percent of patients with advanced-kidney-cancer, four people in the vaccine trial experienced a complete remission, Alexander Kugler of the University of Göttingen and his German colleagues report in the March Nature Medicine.
"This is very impressive," says Donald W. Kufe of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, who first showed that such hybrid-cell vaccines could trigger an immune attack on cancers in animals.
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