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Study: Drug may fight brain tumors

DURHAM, N.C., May 9 (UPI) -- U.S. medical scientists have determined a drug that targets the body's immune cells might be effective in treating malignant brain tumors.

The discovery was reported in a study led by Duke University medical student Peter Fecci.

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"We speculated this drug, which has been used successfully to treat other types of cancer such as melanoma and prostate cancer, might be effective in treating tumors that originate in the brain as well," Fecci said.

"We were effectively targeting 'bad' T-cells that can damage the immune system if their numbers are too high, and 'good' T-cells that help create an immune response to things like infections and tumors," said Dr. John Sampson. "We found this drug was able to stop the bad cells in their tracks by giving the good ones a type of bulletproof jacket."

The Duke researchers, who are in the process of starting a clinical trial to test the effectiveness of the unidentified drug in humans, said their findings hold promise for the development of vaccines that can work against tumors by eliciting the help of the body's immune system.

The research appeared in the April 1 issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

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