Upfront

Zapping more tumors in mice

An experimental cancer treatment tested in mice eliminated all traces of the disease, according to a study published Jan. 31 in Science Translational Medicine.

The researchers believe the method, a way to rev up the immune system’s T cells, could be a rapid and relatively inexpensive cancer therapy unlikely to cause the adverse side effects seen with bodywide immune stimulation.

T cells need revving because tumors often suppress their cancer-fighting activity, The method overcomes this by injecting two immune-stimulating agents into a tumor. Activated T cells then leave the original tumor and destroy others.

“When we use these two agents together, we see the elimination of tumors all over the body,” says Ronald Levy, MD, professor of oncology and the study’s senior author.

In the study, 87 of 90 mice were cured. Cancer recurred in the other three, but tumors regressed again after a second treatment.

Researchers plan a small study of the method’s safety in people with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. For info, visit http://med.stanford.edu/cancer/trials/vaccine.html.

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