Vaccine made from brain tumours extends patients' lives
A vaccine for brain cancer, which is made from a patient’s own brain tumour, could extend lives by up to a year, a US trial has found.
The personalised vaccine proved to be successful when it was administered along with standard treatments for brain tumours, things such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.
The Phase II trial, in which the revolutionary vaccine was tested on 120 patients with brain tumours, revealed it could improve survival times by up to 50 percent.
Participants are now being recruited to take part in larger-scale trial, which will test and compare the vaccine’s effectiveness against Avastin, a popular cancer drug.
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To develop the vaccine, the scientists from the University of California extracted ‘heat shock’ proteins from cancerous tumours once they had been surgically removed.
Out of the 120 patients involved in the trial, the 40 or so who were given the new vaccine saw their survival time increase by, on average, several months.
And over 12 months after the trial commenced, there are a number of patients still alive after being injected with the treatment.
Encouragingly, there have been so far been minimal side effects of the vaccine.
Commenting on the findings of the investigation, Dr Andrew Parsa, who led the research, said: “These results are provocative.
“They suggest that doctors may be able to extend survival even longer by combining the vaccine with other drugs that enhance this immune response.”
Parsa and his team recently presented their findings to the American Association of Neurological Surgeon’s annual meeting in Florida.
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Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”