Friday, May 8, 2009
Medical Reports: Ovarian Cancer Vaccine
About 25,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the U.S. every year. Most of the time it's caught too late, but a new discovery could be changing those odds. 7's Cristine Cruz explains in today's Healthcast.
WSVN -- Happily married with two healthy kids, Jill Kisker was living a charmed life.
Jill Kisker: "The best thing that ever happened to me was having my kids."
Then the worst thing happened. Three years ago, Jill was diagnosed with stage-three ovarian cancer.
Jill Kisker: "I just thought my kids are so little, they just can't, this just can't be true. How did this happen? How did I get here?"
Jill had surgery, six rounds of chemo and then joined a study on an experimental vaccine. Dr. Kunle Odunsi is testing a vaccine that destroys a specific protein usually found in adult male testes, but it's also found on ovarian cancer cells.
Dr. Kunle Odunsi, Roswell Park Cancer Institute: "We're able to generate very robust immune responses."
In a study of 22 women, 70 percent had a positive response to the vaccine.
Dr. Kunle Odunsi: "I think it's highly promising."
In another study in women who already had several recurrences, the vaccine delayed their next relapse by nearly two years.
Dr. Kunle Odunsi: "The ultimate goal here is that this will translate into prevention of relapse altogether and therefore prolongation of overall survival."
Three years later, Jill is still cancer free, but she knows she's not out of the woods.
Jill Kisker: "Whatever I have to do to be here, I'll do it as long as I'm here."
Because, for her and her family, anything else is simply not an option.
In Jill's study, the vaccine was given as an injection once a month for seven months with no significant side effects reported.
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