Stanford Researchers Testing Vaccine to Fight Cancer

Stanford University researchers may be on the verge of a breakthrough in the fight against cancer with a vaccine.

Dr. Ron Levy, a pioneer in the growing field of cancer immunotherapy, and his team of researchers are focusing on the immune system to fight the disease.

"This is not a new idea, it's an old idea," Levy said. "But finally it's starting to work."

The treatment has helped reduce tumors in 97 percent of the mice Levy’s team has tested. He says the method uses two different immune-stimulating agents that are injected into the tumor directly, which then helps the body fight off the cancer on its own.

"We're injecting chemicals and drugs directly into the tumor," he said. "By doing that, we attract the immune system to that place and stimulate it, and then it moves throughout the body searching and destroying cancer throughout the body."

Now, the testing is set to move to humans, and the research team is looking for volunteers.

Each volunteer in the clinical study would receive two rounds of the injections, plus a low dose of radiation. No chemotherapy will be administered.

"Each of the agents that we're using has been used before, testing independently, but they work really well together, and that's what we're pretty excited about," Levy said.

For now, the Stanford team hopes to run clinical trials on about 35 people with low-grade lymphoma. Those trials are targeted for later this year.

"If that looks promising, we'll be looking for other kinds of cancer, too," Levy said.

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