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Plants Make Vaccine For Treating Type Of Cancer In Stanford Study

Posted Jul 27 2008 11:09am

Plants could act as safe, speedy factories for growing antibodies for personalized treatments against a common form of cancer, according to new findings from the Stanford University School of Medicine. The findings came in the first human tests of an injectable vaccine grown in tobacco plants.

The treatments, which would vaccinate cancer patients against their malignant cells, could lead to earlier personalized therapy to tackle follicular B-cell lymphoma, an immune-system malignancy diagnosed in about 16,000 people each year.

Doctors regard follicular B-cell lymphoma as a chronic, incurable disease. The standard treatment, chemotherapy, has such severe side effects that patients often opt for watchful waiting in the early stages of illness. However, plant-grown vaccines, which lack side effects, could allow earlier, more aggressive management of the cancer.

“This would be a way to treat cancer without side effects,” said Ronald Levy, MD, professor of oncology and the Robert K. and Helen K. Summy Professor in the School of Medicine, who is the study’s senior author. “The idea is to marshal the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.”

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