According to a recent clinical trial, hope, in the form of a vaccine, may be on the horizon for patients suffering from melanoma, a deadly and prevalent form of skin cancer. In the study, funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute, which also developed the vaccine, 185 patients with metastic melanoma were administered the vaccine followed by interleukin-2, an immune boosting drug, or interleukin-2 alone. Results indicated that patients receiving the combination showed far more improvement. According to the study, 16 percent of those who were administered the combination experienced 50 percent tumor shrinkage. This group also experienced longer periods in which tumors did not grow-2.2 months compared to 1.6 months among the group taking just the interleukin-2.
Researchers are hoping to continue this study to further the efficacy of the vaccine and determine if it can be improved with other immune-boosting drugs. Also worth noting is that this vaccine is based on protein that is present in most melanoma cases, whereas most vaccines are created for each patient. According to researchers, this may reduce the cost of the drug if it gains FDA approval.
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