Pancreatic cancer patients trialling new treatment
Over 1000 patients with advanced cases of pancreatic cancer are taking part in a crucial trial of a new vaccine which could prolong the lives of sufferers.
Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rates out of all the common cancers, with only three percent of sufferers living for more than five years after being diagnosed with the disease.
The new vaccine is focused on stimulating the immune system to fight pancreatic cancer and therefore prolong lives, as opposed to preventing infections.
It is also hoped the vaccine will make chemotherapy treatments more effective, after previous studies found that patients who received chemotherapy treatments along with vaccine lived three months longer than those who received just chemotherapy treatment.
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The vaccine – known as GV1001 – was made by South Korean pharmaceutical company KAEL GemVax, and works by teaching the immune system to recognise cancer cells and then attack them.
It consists of an injection under the skin into the abdomen, and is preceded by an injection of a growth factor, which boosts the number of white blood cells, something which researchers think will help to improve the way the vaccine works.
The TeloVac trial is taking place at 53 hospitals across the UK. It was funded by Cancer Research UK, and John Neoptolemos one of the leaders of the trial, said: “This will be a pivotal trial. If it's successful, it would make a real difference to the way clinicians behave and patients are treated.”
Cancer Research UK's chief clinician Professor Peter Johnson said: “One of big problems with cancer treatment is you are almost always left with a few malignant cells and it is from those few cells that the cancer can regrow.”
“If you can programme the immune system to recognise those cells and get rid of them altogether or keep them in check then you can effectively stop the cancer from growing back lifelong.”
The results of the trial will be announced in the autumn of next year and scientists are hopeful that if it proves to be successful a vaccine for pancreatic cancer could be approved in late 2013 or 2014.
They also believe that the vaccine could be successful if used to fight other types of cancer, and a trial against lung cancer is being planned for later this year.
Although the vaccine has already shown promising results, Cancer Research is keen to stress that it is not designed to be a cure for pancreatic cancer, but to prolong the lives of people living with the disease.
The news of this trial comes just a few days after another clinical trial was announced, which will test the effects of new drug ADZ5363 against cancer cells.
Dubai's new smart neuro spinal hospital: need to know
We take a look at Dubai's new smart hospital.
What: The Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre is a new hospital featuring state-of-the-art technology for spinal, neurosurgical, neurological, orthopaedic, radiosurgery and cancer treatments. The 700 million AED hospital, (equivalent to £138 million), has 114 beds, smart patient rooms, and green spaces for patient rehabilitation, and is four times the capacity of its former premises in Jumeirah. It is also the UAE’s first hospital to have surgical robots.
Where: The hospital is located in the Dubai Science Park. Founded in 2005, Dubai Science Park is home to more than 350 companies from multinational corporations in life sciences, biotechnology and research; over 4,000 people work here each day.
Who: The UAE's Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre was first established in Jumeirah in 2002 by Dr. Abdul Karim Msaddi, as the first as the first "super-specialty" neuroscience hospital.
Why: With advanced diagnosis and robotics, the hospital will provide care across neuroscience, spine, orthopaedics and oncology for people residing in the UAE, as well as international patients.
Prof. Abdul Karim Msaddi, Chairman and Medical Director of the hospital, said: “We are proud to bring world-class healthcare services to Dubai and believe our next-generation hospital will be a game-changer for the emirate’s and the region’s medical industry.
"It will not only significantly increase the availability of specialist neuroscience and radiosurgery treatments and provide better patient care but help attract and develop local and international talent. Investing in the new centre represents our continued faith in the resilience of the region’s economy, as well as a testament to our ongoing drive towards healthcare innovation in the UAE.”