Human Trial for Leukemia Vaccine

leukemia, aml, blood cells, cancer, acute myeloid leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, National Cancer Institute

A new treatment for leukemia to stop the disease from returning following chemotherapy treatment or a bone marrow transplant has been developed by British researchers and will be now be available for patients in a clinical trial at King's College London.

The new vaccine, as reported in the London Telegraph, is for the most common form of adult leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia (or acute myelogenous leukemia), which usually recurs in half of all cases even after aggressive treatment.

The vaccine, which is created after genetically manipulating cells from the patient's blood, would activate the body's immune system against a recurrence of cancer cells.

The Telegraph's Rebecca Smith writes that it is hoped the vaccine treatment can be further developed to combat other forms of cancer.

Research on the new treatment, which was conducted at the King's College London Experimental Cancer Center, follows experiments on mice with leukemia, half of which had no relapse.

The results of the research will soon be published in the Journal of Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy.

AML is a cancer in which immature cells accumulate in the bone marrow and blood. The usual treatment is chemotherapy and possibly bone marrow transplant.

According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, more than 13,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed annually with AML - representing about a tenth of all new blood cancer patients - with a five-year survival rate of less than 24 percent overall (though the rate is more than twice that for children under 15).

The study led by Professors Ghulam Mufti and Farzin Farzaneh and Dr Nicola Hardwick at University College London, has involved intricate work to develop a man-made virus, similar to HIV, which carries the two genes into the immune system.

Prof. Farzin Farzaneh of King's College London, one of the researchers, told the Telegraph's Smith that the trials will include patients who have already undergone chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.

"It is the same concept as normal vaccines. The immune system is made to see something as foreign and can then destroy it itself. This has the chance to be curative," Farzaneh told the Telegraph.

If successful, the trials could be "rolled out" to treat other forms of cancer," Farzaneh said.

For more info:
National Cancer Institute: Leukemia
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