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Home Home Wellness News Researchers Making Progress Against Ovarian Cancer
Researchers Making Progress Against Ovarian Cancer
Wellness - Latest Wellness News
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THURSDAY, March 29, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Ovarian cancer can be tough to beat, particularly if it returns after initial treatment, but new research offers a glimmer of hope.

One study found that a new targeted "immunotherapy" to treat ovarian cancer that has come back looked promising in a small, early trial. Meanwhile, a second team of researchers discovered what appears to be a marker for patients who will do better after treatment overall.

"These studies are exciting, but very early," said Dr. Eva Chalas, director of the Center for Cancer Care at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. She added that it was good to see research on ovarian cancer, because "little money is spent on this cancer that is often lethal."

Chalas wasn't involved in either study.

The first study included 29 women who had ovarian cancer that had returned. The patients were treated with an ovarian cancer vaccine called Vigil. The vaccine -- also known as targeted immunotherapy -- is made to treat each woman's cancer individually by using cells harvested from the woman's own tumor.

"Ovarian cancer is such a difficult disease because it's a different disease from one person to the next. So, we created a vaccine specific to each particular cancer. It only works for that patient's tumor," explained study author Dr. Rodney Rocconi. He is chief of gynecologic oncology at the University of South Alabama-Mitchell Cancer Institute.

Rocconi said the process of creating the vaccine takes about a week. He didn't have information on the cost to produce the vaccine.

The vaccine -- given as monthly injections -- works by boosting the immune system's response to the cancer. It also stops tumor cells' ability to masquerade as normal cells to the immune system.

"We're hoping this approach will allow us to be a lot more specific from patient to patient, and our response rates have been surprisingly good," he said.

Twenty out of the 29 women achieved three-year survival. The median overall survival was slightly more than 41 months, according to the report.

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