A new study has found that the survival chances of the patient extends when a simple tetanus shot is added to another vaccine used in the treatment of brain cancer.
Researchers from the Duke Cancer Institute found that three of six patients with glioblastoma, the most aggressive primary brain tumor, lived years longer than expected after receiving a tetanus shot. The injection, targeting a virus in the tumor was given to enhance an immunotherapy.
Kristen Batich, a medical student at the Duke University and her colleagues split 12 glioblastoma patients into two groups, six received a tetanus booster and six received a placebo shot. Next day, all 12 patients were given a treatment called dendritic cell immunotherapy, which uses dendritic cells to train the immune system to respond to a specific infectious agent.
"Because the average survival is 12 to 15 months in patients who receive a diagnosis of this tumour, we were quite surprised by the results of three patients who had much longer survival times," said Batich.