27 January 2010

Prostate cancer vaccine: Live a little longer

Cancer vaccine has prolonged the life of terminally illAlexey Tymoshenko, GZT.ru

Specialists from the Dana-Farber Cancer Research Institute and a number of other medical institutions in the United States analyzed the results of treatment of 125 patients, of whom two-thirds received the vaccine together with traditional drugs. A report on clinical trials of the vaccine is published by the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Double blind method

The study, which scientists talk about, was conducted using the so-called double-blind method. Its essence lies in the fact that in the treatment of patients, along with the drug, a placebo — a dummy substance is used, and even doctors who choose therapy do not know about it!

Some patients in the course of the study do not take medicine, but, for example, a standard filler for tablets or, if we are talking about injections, a saline solution.

Neither the patients themselves, nor the attending physician, nor the nurses — no one — knows where what substance is located. Due to this, in the double-blind method, any possibility of confusing the effect of using the drug with the power of autosuggestion is excluded.

Eight months of life

In recent decades, prostate cancer has ceased to be a disease, the detection of which means certain death in a short time. A tumor that was previously found too late during a routine examination is now detected thanks to a blood test for proteins secreted by a malignant formation — this is if the analysis was done on time.

If, despite all the achievements of medicine, the diagnosis is made too late, and chemotherapy or surgery does not help, doctors have only one thing left — to try to at least prolong the patient's life. It is highly desirable at the same time to preserve its quality, especially outside the ward for inoperable patients.

How long can you live with prostate cancer and what does the new drug give? The researchers cite the following data: after three years of treatment, 17% of the observed patients in the control group were alive. Among those who received the vaccine, almost one in three survived, and on average, the vaccine gave patients another eight months of life.


The vaccine that allows the body to hold out for extra time is based on a modified chickenpox virus. By genetic engineering, the virus proteins have been replaced with proteins identical to those of tumor cells. The vaccine stimulates the appearance of antibodies to these proteins, and the increase in the number of antibodies in the blood makes it possible to fight cancer more successfully. Unfortunately, there is no talk about the destruction of neoplasms (a similar "vaccine" principle has already been tested on mice that have developed melanoma, skin cancer), but the work done cannot be called useless.

Of course, eight months on average is very far from the result achieved in those infected with HIV infection (10-15 years of life instead of two or three years are achieved by suppressing the reproduction of the virus and delaying the development of AIDS). But, perhaps, it is the time donated by doctors that will be very significant for someone.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru27.01.2010

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