Vidyya Medical News Service
Volume 6 Issue 208 Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 26-Jul-2004 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 27-Jul-2004
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Combined radiation and vaccine therapy can halt tumor proliferation

NCI researchers have shown that sub-lethal doses of radiation administered in combination with tumor-specific vaccines can reduce tumor size and stimulate immune system-related cells.

In the 15 June 15 Cancer Research, a team of NCI scientists led by Drs. Mala Chakraborty and James Hodge demonstrated that exposure to low amounts of radiation, either by single or multiple doses, can augment the effects of a tumor-specific vaccine regimen. Recent research has shown that sub-lethal amounts of radiation can be used to stimulate host immune system cells without causing serious tissue damage.

Vaccine therapy, currently only in experimental stages, also focuses on generating a greater host immune response to cancer. Using mouse models to assess several endpoints, including the expression of proteins in tumors and the rise of T cells within the tumor site, scientists reported that at 8 days following tumor transplant, mice that received vaccine or radiation therapy alone did not have significant tumor reduction.

Mice that received combination vaccine and radiation treatment demonstrated a marked decline in tumor growth as well as volume.

When single-dose radiation therapy was compared with fractionated dose radiation therapy (both in conjunction with the vaccine), approximately 50 percent of the mice were cured of tumor. This combination therapy “may induce far more effective anti-tumor responses than those seen using either modality alone,” the authors noted.

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