New drugs improve skin cancer survival

Posted By on June 5, 2011

Postive advancements for those of us baby-boomers who may spend too much time in the sun.

For patients with advanced melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, a vaccine combined with an immune-boosting drug is showing promise in a large clinical trial.

Therapeutic cancer vaccines, unlike typical vaccines that prevent infections, are meant to jump-start the immune system to help it battle existing tumors.

In this Phase 3 clinical trial, conducted at 21 care centers, researchers randomly assigned 185 patients with metastatic melanoma, meaning the cancer had spread, to either the vaccine followed by interleukin-2, a drug that activates the immune system, or interleukin-2 alone.

Those given the vaccine-drug combo showed more improvement than those given the drug alone, according to the study, which was published in the June 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

About 16% of those given the vaccine/interleukin-2 combination saw their tumors shrink by 50% or more, compared to 6% given interleukin-2 alone.

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Posted via email from RichC’s posterous

Comments

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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