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Vaccine May help Patients With Metastatic Melanoma Live Long

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A new study shows that patients who received a specialized treatment vaccine with interleukin-2 (IL-2; a standard treatment for advanced melanoma) for melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body lived almost five months longer than patients who received only IL-2. The vaccine used in this study is made from part of a protein (substance in the body that helps it to function) found on melanoma cells that helps the cancer grow. This study also showed that treatment caused the melanoma to stop growing or shrink for more than twice as many patients who received the vaccine and IL-2 than those who received only IL-2

What this means for patients:

"This study is one of teh first to show positive, promising results for a cancer vaccine," said lead author Douglad Schwartzenruber, MD, Medical Director of the Center for Cancer Care at Goshen Health System in Indiana and Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery at Indiana University.

"Metastatic melanoma is a very difficult disease to treat. These results show that we are making some progress against this disease."

This vaccine had few side effects, which include swelling and redness at the injection site. Follow-up testing for the patients in this study in ongoing so researcher can find out how long the vaccine can help to slow melanoma growth.

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