Cancer vaccine shows promise

A six-year-old boy sick with recurrent neuroblastoma was recently declared to be in complete remission for high-risk metastatic cancer as the result of a new cancer vaccine.

The boy was given a dendritic vaccine for cancer that uses the body's own immune system to attack tumor cells. The vaccine was developed by scientists at the University of Louisville and led by Dr. Kenneth Lucas.

Lucas said that the cancer treatment vaccines differ from other vaccines because they treat active cancers and also help to prevent recurrence. A full year after the boy with neuroblastoma was given his last dose of vaccine, the tumor cells located in his marrow have entirely disappeared.

"This research builds on five years of pre-clinical research, which identified three new immunological targets that are specific to this pediatric cancer," Scott Kennedy, the executive director of Solving Kids' Cancer, said. "The case study highlights the potential therapeutic progress that can be made against neuroblastoma, and brings hope to patients and their families in finding a lasting cure."

The results of vaccine's trials appear in the January 2013 issue of Pediatrics and the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The study was funded in part by a joint grant from the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, Pierce Phillips Charity and Solving Kids' Cancer.