A new vaccine for pancreatic cancer might help increase the life span of people who are suffering from the same. Pancreatic cancer happens to be the fourth leading cause of death from cancer and is one of the most difficult cancers to treat.
Preliminary results from the cancer vaccine trial show that it improved the survival rates "from an average of about 63 percent one year after diagnosis to 88 percent." It was also found that the percentage of pancreatic cancer patients who survived for two years after diagnosis increased from 42 percent to 76 percent. Lead researcher Daniel Laheru, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center said in a news release that as of now there is no widely accepted standard to treat pancreatic cancer and surgical removal of the entire area affected by this cancer is the accepted modality. "Even though our results are preliminary, the survival rates are an improvement over most published results of pancreatic cancer treatment studies," he said. The above findings were presented at a cancer meeting in Philadelphia and were arrived at after treating 60 people with pancreatic cancer with the experimental vaccine. The researchers tested out this vaccine after the surgery and postoperative chemotherapy. The vaccine was given 8 to 10 weeks after surgery and four booster doses are recommended after radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Elizabeth Jaffee, MD, of Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and the co- researcher in this study said in the press release that follow-up was important, "It is important that we continue to follow these patients to know how the treatment will work in the long term. We're hopeful that these early results will hold true."