Friday, March 13, 2015

“Cancer Survival Boosted by Tetanus Shot With Vaccine”

That’s the lead sentence of an article by Peter Loftus in the Wall Street Journal reads “A common tetanus booster shot given to patients with a deadly form of brain cancer shortly before an experimental cancer vaccine prolonged their survival, a small study found.” See:
BTW - some of the patients in the test had glioblastoma, aka GBM. If you need to know more about GBM, the National Brain Tumor Society has a great site about GBM and has launched a major effort to tackle this horribly deadly disease:

Loftus’ article goes on to say, “Duke University researchers who led the study say the regimen could mark a new way to stimulate the body’s immune system to attack tumors, a growing area of interest in cancer treatment. The scientific journal Nature published the study results online Wednesday.

“We’ve discovered a way to enhance cancer vaccines which dramatically improves their efficacy” without significant side effects, said John Sampson, chief of neurosurgery at Duke and lead author of the study. He cautioned the study was small—12 patients—and the regimen needs to be validated in further testing, which is being planned.”

So what should you and your brain tumor loved one do? My wife talked to a close friend of ours and she’s asking her doctor if she should/can get a tetanus shot right away.


PS – The photo is of John Sampson, chief of neurosurgery at Duke, and grad student Kristen Batich who, along with their colleagues, studied an innovative treatment for lethal brain tumors: using a tetanus booster to enhance the effect of a vaccine, thereby improving patient survival. Photo credit: Shawn Rocco/Duke Medicine

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