The benefit of some cancer vaccines may be boosted by treating patients with an antibody that blocks a key protein on immune system T cells, according to a small, preliminary study led by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Womens Hospital.
The study, to be published online on April 1 in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (www.pnas.org), tested the effect of a single injection of the antibody MDX-CTLA4 in nine patients who had previously been treated with cancer vaccines for either metastatic melanoma or metastatic ovarian cancer. The result, in every patient who had received a particular kind of vaccine, was widespread death of cancer cells and an increase in the number of immune system cells within the tumors – evidence of a potent immune system attack.
"This study makes a strong case that combined immunotherapy – consisting of a vaccine and antibodies – can elicit a potent immune response to some types of tumors in patients," says the studys senior author, Glenn Dranoff, MD, of Dana-Farber.
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