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Vaccine may block recurrence of lung cancer


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Vaccine may block recurrence of lung cancer

A vaccine to prevent the recurrence of lung cancer is now being tested in centers around the world, including the Siteman Cancer Center and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

The vaccine spurs the immune system to destroy cells that carry a substance known as MAGE-A3. This substance is not present in normal tissue but is found in several cancer types, including 35 percent to 50 percent of the most common lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer.

Doctors hope the vaccine will provide an efficient and safe therapy for patients who have undergone conventional treatment for a primary tumor but are likely to relapse. The study will involve nearly 2,300 patients at 400 centers in 33 countries.

"The vaccine takes advantage of the immune system's built-in ability to eliminate foreign materials and harmful cells," said Dr. Bryan Meyers, who heads the arm of the trial at Washington University. "This natural process has few side effects, unlike traditional treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation."

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