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Lung Cancer Vaccine

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http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?secti ... id=4220224

July 1 - Lung cancer strikes more than 170,000 people each year. Only 15 percent of them will be cured. The rest will be given just months to live. Now a new vaccine may give patients hope for a longer survival.

Marilyn Cohn knows how to deal with a bad hand. Her doctor dealt her one she thought she wouldn't be able to beat. "He said, 'I had lung cancer,' she says. "Right to my face, he said, 'You have one year to live.'"

Oncologist Luis E. Raez, M.D., FACP, however, gave Cohn a second chance.

"When she came to us, the tumor had already spread," Dr. Raez, of the Sylvester Cancer Center at University of Miami in Florida, tells Ivanhoe.

Cohn's only hope was a vaccine ... never before tested in humans.

"When you're told you have a year to live, you'll do anything!" she says.

Dr. Raez says, "We're trying to make your immune system aware that you have a lung cancer tumor inside, and we need to kill it, and you need to defend yourself." To do that, doctors inject patients with a vaccine filled with lung cancer cells. It's the same theory used to fight the flu. The immune system is alerted of the foreign cells and kills them.

"Your immune system builds up an army of cells. It goes and fights the lung cancer tumor," Dr. Raez says. That army then seeks out lung cancer cells throughout the body and destroys them.

In his study, 19 patients got the vaccine. As for side effects, the only thing patients complained about was a slight rash. One tumor shrunk and five others stopped growing, including Cohn's.

Dr. Raez says, "We stopped the tumor growing. Also, she has not progressed in that time."

After surviving eight years, Cohn knows luck is on her side!

The vaccine will now move on to another trial involving 70 patients. They will be given one injection a week for nine weeks.

If you would like more information, please contact:

Kelly Kaufhold

University of Miami/Miller School of Medicine

Office of Communication

1475 NW 12th Avenue

Miami, Florida 33136

(305) 243-5184


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