An Innovative Treatment For Non Hodgkins Lymphoma

An Innovative Treatment For Non Hodgkins Lymphoma

An Innovative Treatment for​ NonHodgkins Lymphoma
NonHodgkins lymphoma is​ a​ slowgrowing, lifethreatening cancer of​ the​ immune system that develops when white blood cells grow uncontrollably in the​ lymph nodes. ​
Each year in the​ U.S. ​
alone, 55,000 new cases are diagnosed. ​
Fortunately, novel, highly personalized treatments are being produced. ​
With a​ recent medical breakthrough, patients can now receive individualized treatment that kills cancerous cells while sparing normal, healthy cells. ​

Traditional treatments usually consist of​ chemotherapy and​ ​ monoclonal antibody ​Drug​s, which, along with targeting cancerous Bcells, kill healthy white blood cells that comprise a​ major component of​ the​ immune system. ​

Biovest International is​ one of​ a​ few companies working on patientspecific cancer vaccines. ​
Biovests personalized therapeutic, BiovaxID, is​ currently being tested as​ a​ treatment for​ indolent slowgrowing follicular Bcell nonHodgkins lymphoma, which affects 12,500 new patients in the​ U.S. ​
each year. ​
The vaccine could eventually be used to treat other cancers. ​

Personalizing BiovaxID begins with a​ sampling of​ cancerous cells from a​ patients lymph nodes. ​
On the​ surface of​ these cells are unique proteins, or​ antigens, detectable by the​ immune system. ​
The doctor sends this sample of​ the​ patients cancer cells to Biovests laboratory in Worcester, Mass. ​
Here, researchers mix the​ cells with another line of​ cells licensed from Stanford University. ​
The cells fuse, releasing the​ antigen proteins. ​

As the​ patient undergoes chemotherapy to kill most of​ the​ cancer cells, Biovest collects and​ ​ purifies the​ patients antigen proteins, which, after chemical modification, form the​ active ingredient of​ the​ custom vaccine. ​
The individualized vaccine is​ then sent back to the​ doctor, who injects it​ into the​ patient five times over six months. ​

Typical treatments for​ nonHodgkins do not specifically target the​ tumor, explains Dr. ​
Carl M. ​
Cohen, Biovest Chief Operating Officer. ​
Our vaccine trains the​ patients immune system to target a​ specific protein on the​ tumor cellsone found only on the​ tumor cells. ​
BiovaxID only kills cancer cells. ​
if ​ you think of​ chemotherapy as​ a​ blunt instrument, our treatment is​ like tweezers. ​

Results from a​ Biovest study of​ 20 patients, be​gun​ at ​ the​ National Cancer Institute a​ decade ago, show a​ 95 percent survival rate. ​
Fortyfive percent are still in remission. ​
According to historical data, only about half the​ patients would have survived with conventional treatments. ​
None would still be in remission. ​
The Biovesttreated patients remained diseasefree for​ a​ median of​ eight years.
Currently, Biovest is​ enrolling patients for​ a​ largescale study to be held at ​ several major U.S. ​
and European medical institutions. ​
The trial will include 460 patients. ​
Company officials hope to obtain FDA approval for​ the​ vaccine by 2018.

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