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American scientists developed a vaccine that uses tumor cells to treat brain cancer

U.S. scientists have developed a vaccine against brain cancer that uses tumor cells obtained from tumours of patients during surgery. According to, clinical trials have shown that the vaccine can prolong life of patients with multiform glioblastoma. The results were presented by researches from the University of California at Annual Meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in San Francisco.

Multiform glioblastoma is one of the most common types of brain tumors; 98% of people diagnosed with this disease die within 5 years. The disease is diagnosed in 17 thousands of people in the USA and 4.7 thousands – in UK. Standard treatment of glioblastoma includes chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and removal of the tumor by surgery. All of these methods affect the tumor itself, not the cause of the disease, so they can prolong patients' lives only slightly.

The second phase of clinical trial involved 40 patients with multiform glioblastoma. From tumors removed from patients researches isolated the so-called heat shock proteins (HSPs) that are normally produced by cells in response to a temperature rise, inflammation, exposure to toxins and other stressful conditions. The vaccine containing these proteins was called HSPPC-96; it was used to trigger an immune response against cancer.

The new vaccine was used in combination with standard therapies. The survival of patients who participated in clinical trials increased to 47 weeks as compared to 32 weeks in 80 patients who received standard treatment. Some patients were alive one year after the course of treatment with new vaccine.