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Cancer vaccine

Posted on: 11/09/2007

Cancer vaccine

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When someone is diagnosed with a brain tumor, surgery is usually first on the list of treatments. But thousands of patients are avoiding the operating table and instead getting a shot!


Some doctors are taking cells from a patient's tumor and making a vaccine to treat their cancer.

A simple shot into the skin near Glenn Rhoades' armpit is anything but simple!

It's revolutionary; a vaccine he hopes will control his brain cancer.

"There was a brain tumor the size of a golf ball in my left frontal lobe," Rhoades said.

Dr. Keith Black surgically removed the tumor, but when surgery, chemotherapy and specialized radiation failed to stop Glenn's cancer from growing, he volunteered for the vaccine.

The hope is the injection will jump start the patient's sleepy immune system, which up until now was not doing a good job of fighting the cancer.

Stimulated by the combination of tumor and foreign looking materials, the body produces new antibodies and killer cells that seek out and attack the cancer throughout the body.

Results from vaccine studies are promising.

"The two year survival of patients receiving the vaccine and chemotherapy went from eight percent in the control group to 42 percent," Dr. Black said.

And over 45 percent have survived three years. Doctors say it's a first big step.

"I can envision eliminating the need to do open surgery," Dr. Black said. "Putting myself out of business would be a fantastic thing."

The doctors say they need more time and financial resources to advance the vaccine, but they are encouraged by the positive study results.

(Copyright 2007 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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