Vidyya Medical News Service
Volume 6 Issue 260 Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 16-Sep-2004 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 17-Sep-2004
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Cancer vaccines: Training the immune system to fight cancer
Vaccines traditionally have been used to prevent infectious diseases such as measles and the flu. But with cancer vaccines, the emphasis is on treatment, at least for now. The idea is to inject a preparation of inactivated cancer cells or proteins that are unique to cancer cells into a person who has cancer. The goal: to train the person's immune system to recognize the living cancer cells and attack them.  more

The immune system and how it works
Your immune system includes your spleen, lymph nodes, tonsils, bone marrow, and white blood cells. These all help protect you from getting infections and diseases. When your immune system works the way it should, it can tell the difference between "good" cells that keep you healthy and "bad" cells that make you sick. But sometimes this doesn't happen. Doctors are doing research to learn why some immune systems don't fight off diseases like cancer.  more

IOM report: No link between vaccines and autism
There is no link between autism and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine or the vaccine preservative thimerosal, according to a report released by the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) Immunization Safety Review Committee.  more


Thimerosal in vaccines
Thimerosal is a mercury-containing organic compound (an organomercurial). Since the 1930s, it has been widely used as a preservative in a number of biological and drug products, including many vaccines, to help prevent potentially life threatening contamination with harmful microbes. Over the past several years, because of an increasing awareness of the theoretical potential for neurotoxicity of even low levels of organomercurials and because of the increased number of thimerosal containing vaccines that have been added to the infant immunization schedule, concerns about the use of thimerosal in vaccines and other products have been raised. Indeed, because of these concerns, the Food and Drug Administration has worked with, and continues to work with, vaccine manufacturers to reduce or eliminate thimerosal from vaccines.  more

Maggot therapy linked with reduced post-operative wound infections
Maggots aren't high on most people's favorite-animals list. But maggots--specifically, the larvae of the green blowfly, Phaenicia sericata--can be helpful for the very reason they horrify. By eating dead tissue at a patient's wound site, maggots may help decrease the risk of post-operative infections, according to an article in the October 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online.  more

Rituxan (rituximab) shows promise against lupus
A drug now used to treat a type of cancer appears to be very effective at treating lupus, with just one injection easing symptoms in several patients for a year or more. The results of the clinical trial involving 17 patients are in the August issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism. more

Prescribing information: Rituxan (rituximab)
Rituxan® (Rituximab) is a unique treatment that works effectively with the immune system against non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). Recently the drug has shown promise as a treatment for lupus. more

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