An Innovative Treatment For Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a slow-growing, lethal cancer of the immune system that develops when white blood cells grow frantically in the lymph nodes. With a recent medical breakthrough, patients can now receive personalized treatment that kills malignant cells while sparing normal, healthy cells.

Standard treatments normally include chemotherapy and monoclonal antibody drugs, which, together with targeting malignant B-cells, eliminate healthy white blood cells that make up a major part of the body immune system.

Biovest International is one of a few companies dealing with patient-specific cancer vaccines. Biovest’s individualized healing, BiovaxID, is presently being tested as a treatment for indolent (slow-growing) follicular B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which influences 12,500 brand-new clients in the United States each year. The vaccine could eventually be used to alleviate other cancers.

Individualizing BiovaxID begins with a tasting of malignant cells from a patient’s lymph nodes. The medical professional sends this sample of the client’s cancer cells to Biovest’s laboratory in Worcester, Mass.

As the client undergoes chemotherapy to eliminate the majority of the cancer cells, Biovest collects and purifies the patient’s antigen proteins, which, after chemical modification, form the active component of the custom-made vaccine. The individualized vaccine is then sent back to the physician, who injects it into the patient five times over 6 months.

“Our vaccine trains the patient’s immune system to target a certain protein on the growth cells-one containeded only on the tumor cells. BiovaxID just kills cancer cells.

Outcomes from a Biovest research study of 20 patients, begun at the National Cancer Institute a 10 years earlier, show a 95 percent survival rate. According to historic information, just about half the patients would have survived with traditional treatments.

Currently, Biovest is enrolling clients for a large-scale study to be held at several significant U.S. and European medical institutions. The trial will include 460 patients. Business officials hope to get FDA approval for the vaccine by 2008.

With a current medical development, clients can now receive individualized treatment that eliminates malignant cells while sparing normal, healthy cells.

Individualizing BiovaxID begins with a tasting of cancerous cells from a client’s lymph nodes. The doctor sends this sample of the client’s cancer cells to Biovest’s laboratory in Worcester, Mass. Here, scientists blend the cells with another line of cells licensed from Stanford University. “Our vaccine trains the client’s immune system to target a specific protein on the tumor cells-one containeded just on the growth cells.

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