LEBANON, N.H., Nov. 27 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say a "dendritic cell" vaccine may help patients develop an immune response against their own cancer.
Researchers at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., have developed individualized vaccines to help prevent further spread of cancer.
The study, published in Clinical Cancer Research, says vaccines were given to 26 colorectal cancer patients one month after their surgeries to remove their tumors.
Immune responses were induced against the patient's own tumor in more than 60 percent of the patients. Five years after their vaccine treatment, 63 percent of the patients who developed an immune response against their own tumor were alive and tumor-free versus 18 percent of the patients who did not develop an immune response against their own tumor.
"The results of the study suggest a new way to approach cancer treatment," Dr. Richard Barth, the principal investigator, says in a statement. "Basically, we've worked out a way to use dendritic cells, which initiate immune responses, to induce an anti-tumor response."
Dendritic cells, help the body's immune system identify targets -- antigens -- and react against those antigens, Barth says.
Barth and colleagues grew dendritic cells from the patient's blood and then mixed the dendritic cells with proteins from the patient's tumor to create a vaccine that "jump-starts" the immune system.