Friday, December 4, 2009
Medical Reports: Vaccine For Brain Cancer
A brain cancer diagnosis is devastating. Even after treatment, doctors say the tumor returns in 95 percent of cases. Researchers are now testing a new vaccine to stop the cancer from coming back. 7s Diana Diaz has more in today's healthcast.
WSVN -- Peter Rauch: "I'd like you to spell the word world backwards."
Peter Rauch was just about to celebrate his 70th birthday when doctors diagnosed him with brain cancer.
Peter Rauch: "I thought maybe I was getting dementia or something like that. I just didn't feel quite right."
Doctors were able to surgically remove the cancer, but the concern was the tumor would come back.
Dr. Ted Schwartz: "They infiltrate into the brain, and we can take out the majority of them, but there are microscopic cells that go into the brain that are very, very hard to treat."
Peter is testing out a new vaccine. It works by training his immune system to target and kill cancer cells.
Dr. Ted Schwartz: "With new treatments like tumor vaccines, we can actually 'rev-up' the body's own immune system to target and treat those tumors."
In a recent study, patients who got the vaccine were free of cancer for about 16 and a half months and survived nearly three years. Those who didn't get the shot saw their cancer come back six months later. They survived a little over a year.
Dr. Ted Schwartz: "We've been doing this for many years. It helps to stave off disease, but is not a cure. Now, we have a treatment that potentially can increase the number of long-term survivors."
Which is music to Peter's ears.
Peter Rauch: "I don't think I'm back to where I was before the surgery, but I'm getting closer."
So far, Peter's feeling good and grateful for every day .
Diana Diaz: "Patients in the trial receive monthly injections for as long as the tumor has not returned."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center
Tel: (212) 821-0560