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Health Information Vaccine Shows Promise
for Advanced Melanoma

Very few treatment options exist for patients with advanced melanoma, the most lethal type of skin cancer. But the results of a large clinical trial involving Rush provide promise.

The findings of the study show that combining a vaccine with the immune-boosting drug Interleukin-2 has a higher response rate and increases survival rates more than the use of Interleukin-2 alone. This is the first vaccine study for advanced melanoma — and one of the first for all types of cancers — to show clinical benefit in a phase III trial, the definitive measure of a treatment's effectiveness.

About 16 percent of study participants given the vaccine and Interleukin-2 combination saw tumors shrink by 50 percent or more, compared to 6 percent given Interleukin-2 alone.

"If we can use the body's own defense system to attack tumor cells, we provide a mechanism for ridding the body of cancer without destroying healthy tissue," says Howard Kaufman, MD, director of the Rush University Cancer Center and a co-investigator in the study.

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Past Issues
Discover Rush Fall 2011
Vaccine Shows Promise
for Advanced Melanoma


   
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