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Brain Tumor Vaccine Shows Promising Results

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the getting-a-head-of-cancer dept.

Science 62

ScienceDaily is reporting that a new vaccine used in the treatment of a cancer found primarliy in the brain is showing promising results after an initial trial at the University of California. "Of the 12 patients being treated, eight can currently be evaluated for overall survival, while four are still receiving treatment. Seven out of the eight patients have exceeded the historical median benchmark of 6.5 months survival from time of recurrence. The investigators will continue to follow the patients for overall survival. Based on these results, a larger, multi-center phase 2 study is planned for late 2007."

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IT'S NOT A TUMOR!! (5, Funny)

PinkBird (317418) | more than 7 years ago | (#18753945)

had to be said!!!

Re:IT'S NOT A TUMOR!! (0, Redundant)

Workaphobia (931620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18754549)

% Ohhhh,
I'm a tumor I'm a tumor; I'm a tumor,
I'm a tumor I'm a tumor; I'm a tumor,
I'm a tumor I'm a tumor; I'm a tumor,
Tumor. %

It had to be sung.

Re:IT'S NOT A TUMOR!! (1)

vimh42 (981236) | more than 7 years ago | (#18759759)

Having had a brain tumor as a child, I cannot express enough how annoying it is anytime somebody quotes that.

Re:IT'S NOT A TUMOR!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18762547)

well, when I was diagnosed, treated and in recovery a few year ago, I made the best of it by going with a variation:

"It's not a toomah. Oh, wait. It is a toomah!"

Now, whenever I get a "regular-people"-type headache and get a worried look from my GF, I quip:

"It's not a toomah. This time!"

Better to keep it light where possible, IMO...
-j

"an initial trial at the University of California" (-1, Offtopic)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18753973)

I used to hang out on irc a lot, on efnet#california. Still do, occasionally. People often come in and ask stupid questions like "what is the weather like in California?" Given that California has literally every type of terrain except for Tundra, and runs North-South for quite some distance, this is simply retarded. It would be like asking what the weather was like in Europe or something. Similarly, claiming that something occurred at the "University of California" is, well, just wrong. Unless it's an edict handed down applying to the entire UC system.

Re:"an initial trial at the University of Californ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18754015)

Maybe each university was in charge of a particular patient in order to see how variations in temperature affected the outcome?

Re:"an initial trial at the University of Californ (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18754041)

it is imprecise, not necessarily inaccurate. I had that as early as high school chem, and several times in college as well. Unless you are suggesting they can't do anything by themselves... Which I hope you aren't...

Re:"an initial trial at the University of Californ (1)

w.p.richardson (218394) | more than 7 years ago | (#18754219)

Isn't Cal Berkeley the University of California? That's how it's commonly referenced outside of CA.

Re:"an initial trial at the University of Californ (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18754293)

Cal-Berkeley is the flagship of the UC System. As a result, it is known as Cal or UC for athletic events which the others get UCLA or something else. Think of Texas or Tennesse or Michigan or North Carolina as an example.

UCSF is an incredible place that only does medical research. There is no undergrad program. One of the best hospitals in the country. You should check out the amount of NIH funding they get.

Re:"an initial trial at the University of Californ (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18754321)

Isn't Cal Berkeley the University of California? That's how it's commonly referenced outside of CA.

No. It's called "UC Berkeley". The "University of California [university...fornia.edu] " is a system of Universities handled by one accrediting body.

Referring to any individual UC campus as "The University of California" is simply inaccurate, regardless of what others might say [slashdot.org] , unless you are explicitly talking about the UC system.

Of course, slashdot "editors" don't actually edit, even if they knew things like this, which I don't think they do (based on their own story submissions.)

So we the people have to notice things like this - but of course I got modded offtopic, even though my comment is about the story (well, actually the story submission.)

Further proof that the slashdot moderation system does not work.

As if we needed any.

Now, if you are in a given town, one colloquially refers to the local college as "the UC" or "UC". I grew up in Santa Cruz, so UC Santa Cruz was simply abbreviated to "UC". But that's not a proper usage, it's shorthand. If I was speaking for the benefit of an audience, I would always refer to it at least as "UCSC".

Re:"an initial trial at the University of Californ (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18754427)

So that "UCSC" is University of Califoria - Southern California?

Re:"an initial trial at the University of Californ (1)

rbanzai (596355) | more than 7 years ago | (#18754623)

Are you thinking of plain old USC?

The UC system is broken down like the poster said. UCLA, UCSD, etc. They are also frequently described as "UC San Diego, UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine."

USC is not part of this state system.

Re:"an initial trial at the University of Californ (1)

wperry1 (982543) | more than 7 years ago | (#18754637)

UCSC = UC Santa Cruz

Re:"an initial trial at the University of Californ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18758257)

Nonsense. As a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California refers to the campus located at Berkeley. As the first and most prestigious campus in the system, it can accurately be called the University of California. All attempts to force a distinction is just a result of the other campuses trying to improve standing by appearing to be on equal footing. It is not uncommon for this naming practice (where the first and best campus takes the name of the entire system) throughout public state schools (see: the Ohio State University, the University of Texas, the University of Michigan ...).

Re:"an initial trial at the University of Californ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18758551)

Nice post Oski. Must be hard to type with that pole up your ass... [stanfordalumni.org] :)

Re:"an initial trial at the University of Californ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18763059)

UC Berkeley is referred to as 'The University of California,' or 'Cal' because it was the first of the 10 UC campuses. It is not a typo.

Vaccine? (4, Insightful)

Grashnak (1003791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18754069)

I know they use the word vaccine in TFA, but my understanding of a vaccine (plus a cursory glance at a dictionary) suggests that a vaccine should be something you administer in order to prevent someone from getting a disease, rather than something you use to treat a person who already has the disease.

Any of you bright science boys or girls know what the difference is between a "vaccine" and any other drug you might use to treat a diease? Just wondering.

Re:Vaccine? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18754123)

This particular cancer "recurrs".

The vaccine is made from the previously cut-out cancer cell of that patient,
and is used to prevent recurrence.

Immune response booster (4, Informative)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 7 years ago | (#18754287)

My crude understanding has been that vaccines are intended to amplify the immune response to pathogens. This can happen before or during a disease (prophylactic or therapeutic according to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccine [wikipedia.org]

Re:Vaccine? (5, Insightful)

DebateG (1001165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18754397)

A vaccine is any substance that stimulates your immune system to attack a pathogen specifically. It stimulates what is known as the adaptive immune system, which is the part of the immune system that recognizes a specific infection. For example, you may be infected with Hepatitis A, and that generates a nonspecific inflammatory response. Later on, your T and B cells "learn" to specifically begin attacking the Hepatitis A virus. If you get infected with Hepatitis B, you still have the nonspecific inflammatory response, but your learned response against Hepatitis A doesn't help here; it's very specific for Hepatitis A.

In contrast, most drugs don't prime your immune system against specific proteins on the pathogen. Chemotherapy drugs tend to just kill rapidly dividing cells non-specifically; you get nausea because the normal cells in your gut are also killed. There are some drugs such as monoclonal antibodies that can specifically attack and kill the pathogenic cells, but they don't work by priming your immune cells.

It's a misconception that all vaccines prevent you from getting the disease. The BCG vaccine for TB doesn't really prevent you from getting infected with TB chronically; it prevents you from getting a really severe kind of acute TB. In fact, some vaccines are actually administered after you've already been infected. For example, the rabies vaccine causes a brisk immune response against rabies. You usually receive it *after* you've been bitten by a rabid animal, so there is already rabies virus replicating within your cells. It helps you clear the virus that is already there.

I hope this helps.

Insightful! (0)

Grashnak (1003791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18754431)

Thanks, thats very clear. If I could mod you up I would!

Re:Insightful! (1)

Grashnak (1003791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18761391)

I said:

Thanks, thats very clear. If I could mod you up I would!
Not that I care, but why on earth would someone mod that down?

Re:Insightful! (1)

Petra_von_Kant (825352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18763701)

I_just_can't_help_it ..............


You must be new here ..........



"You've got a chart filling a whole wall with interlocking pathways
and reactions to shock and the researcher says "If I can just control
this one molecule/enzyme/compound I'll stop the whole negative
physiologic cascade of post haemorrhagic shock." Yeah, right."

Re:Vaccine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18764581)

A vaccine is any substance that stimulates your immune system to attack a pathogen specifically


No, a vaccine is a weakened or inactivacted virus, or a related but less virulent virus (as was the case with cowpox against smallpox, for which the "vaca" part of vaccine is named). BCG preps are also called vaccines, because of their origins in M. bovis (a TB affecting cows). There is a trend towards calling innoculations based on subunits cleaved from cultured virus or manufactured de novo by cellular microbes "vaccines", and a weaker trend towards calling some toxoid innoculations "vaccines" too. These two new uses are increasingly distant from the original meaning and reflect that to lay people, innoculations and vaccinations are identical. Indeed, there is a blurring between vaccinations and more generic terms like "shots" (in North America) and "jabs" (in other English-speaking areas).

Vaccines do prevent one from getting the (full) disease, in the sense that the active immune system will have been trained to destroy the antigens introduced by the vaccination. Most vaccines result in nearly complete clinically asymptomatic responses to subsequent exposures to the antigen. Some vaccines, and some people, result in mild clinical symptoms (pyrexia and myalgia mainly) with new exposures, but these are mild in comparison with diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, or yellow fever.

BCG is rarely used in the west -- it has been abandoned recently in several countries because it is not cost-effective for a variety of reasons including genetic drift between the wildtype human TB and the strain of bovine TB from which BCG derives. Herd immunity and better detection and treatment of latent TB are also factors.

Using vaccines post-exposure (PEP) is unusual, and rabies is one of the few where PEP vaccination is the standard response, along with immunoglobin and possibly other antiviral agents. The reason that vaccination is used at all is that rabies "creeps" through the nervous system fairly slowly, and in most cases peripheral exposure can take many days to reach sensitive areas of the CNS. PEP is therefore really sort-of pre-exposure prophylaxis, given that the weakened or killed virus generally will circulate through the patient much more rapidly than the live infection.

The immune response from PEP is not significantly different than the immune response from the live infection in most diseases where vaccination is used, and in those cases PEP vaccination can be counterproductive with respect to patient outcome, probably by diffusing the immune response or triggering overreaction.

you may be infected with Hepatitis A, and that generates a nonspecific inflammatory response


I think you are confused about what "nonspecific" means when applied to inflammatory responses. It is plausible that an Ag-mediated inflammatory response could arise in cases of outright liver trauma, and this certainly can happen with viral hepatitis (type C especially), but it would be considered unusual in the presence of other clinical symptoms. Inflammation in the liver is the key marker of hepatitis of all varieties (thus the name) but the triggers generally are vector specific and dramatically different from one form to another.

Note that evidence of nonspecific inflammatory response in the liver even in diagnosed viral hepatitis patients will lead to an investigation of autoimmune disease!

Finally:

TB doesn't really prevent you from getting infected with TB chronically;


It does. People who have been innoculated with wildtype TB preps and who have normal immune systems do not contract chronic TB disease, don't have chronic benign infection, don't act as carriers and are not reservoirs of pathogenic TB mycobacteria. This is also true of most people innoculated with BCG.

It will not protect one from recurrent exposure, or guarantee that those exposures will be entirely asymptomatic, however it does fully prevent the disease, which is the whole point.

Exposure to pathogenic TB in OECD countries is exceptionally rare, and probably limited to people who work closely with refugees. Such people probably have their immune systems trained by background exposure enough that vaccinations are of at best marginal value, and those that come down with TB disease and the people they are intimate with are readily treated with antibiotics in the presence of latent TB symptoms.

Re:Vaccine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18758709)

I know what "Vaccine" means - it means a FRAUD perpetrated by a conman called Jenner...
Just search Google for "Dr Hadwen vaccination" and you'll find out all about it.
This myth only persists because of huge amounts of MONEY that is made from it. The whole thing's a load of snake oil.
Seriously, try and find out how so-called 'vaccines' are made, and WHAT they are made from. You'll be surprised. But you won't be surprised that the manufacturers of this filth don't want us to know what it's made from...

Meaningless Statistics (4, Informative)

w.p.richardson (218394) | more than 7 years ago | (#18754137)

Presumably this is a therapeutic vaccine, since survival data is reported. Don't think you could get this as a prophylactic vaccine in order to ward off future brain tumors.

As for the statistics, the fact that 7/8 have exceeded the historical median survival is fairly meaningless. I'm sure that historical literature could be produced to provide equivalent results in a single small study. Also, at a single site, you have no insight into the selection criteria for the patients enrolled... Were they selected because they were highly likely to survive (e.g., early stage disease)? Is the investigational site vested in the therapy (likely the case, at least for a principal investigator)?

Will be interesting to see what phase 2 studies bring - hopefully it works out as well as they describe here, but if history is any judge, that is probably not going to be the case.

Re:Meaningless Statistics (4, Interesting)

flynt (248848) | more than 7 years ago | (#18754307)

Well I of course agree with your sentiment, calling the results "meaningless" isn't quite right either. They have some meaning, even if they are based on a small sample. For instance, if all 8 patients died the day of their first dose of vaccine, would you call that meaningless? If you read the article, all the actual investigators understand this is only a Phase I study, but that's where everything starts off. I agree, so many things that seem promising do not work out when done in a large trial, so excitement should be tempered until then. Your criticisms of this study would be valid if it were a Phase II/III trial, but this one clearly wasn't designed to show efficacy.

Re:Meaningless Statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18755067)

Well.. there were twelve patients. If 7 out of 12 exceed the median... that's not really surprising at all.

Re: Meaningless Statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18762603)

The article indicated these cases were difficult ones, where then tumor recurred following conventional treatment of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Think about it: ethically, you give experimental treatments in phase I studies to patients who have a poor prognosis, not one where the risks of an unproven treatment risks the well being of a patient with good prospects of survival.

The study highlighted a case history where MRI showed no trace of a recurrent tumor after treatment. That's not statistics, it's a measurement. No, they aren't promising a silver-bullet "cure for cancer"--they are demonstrating a therapy with promise for extending the span and improving the quality of life for those with a particular disease that is otherwise terminal.

It means something to me (1)

trigggl (758335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18765147)

These statistics mean a great deal to me. Even if it's 7/8 out of 100, that's still better than 0 out of 100. If it turns out to be a 60% chance, I'll take that over 0% any day, month or year. I was diagnosed with a glioma after my wife found me at midnight having multiple seizures on the living room floor. My kidneys shut down and the doctors were talking transplant. Fortunately they started back up again, but I think I would rather die than go through chemo again. It was furtunate(God), also, that my tumor was low grade. I'm hoping that when it comes back it will still be low grade. I'm due for an MRI. The first couple MRIs after I stopped chemo were very stressful(scary).

A pre-emptive 'you insensitive clod' comment... (-1, Flamebait)

Caspian (99221) | more than 7 years ago | (#18754151)

My brother died from brain cancer.

If you crack a joke about brain cancer, I will PERSONALLY skullfuck you...

...you insensitive clod.

Re:A pre-emptive 'you insensitive clod' comment... (3, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#18754229)

I'm with ya there man, I lost a close friend in high school to a brain tumor. ...to go from worrying about your learning permit to worrying if you'll live to Christmas. It is nothing I'd wish on any one, let alone a child.

-Rick

Re:A pre-emptive 'you insensitive clod' comment... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18754323)

> My brother died from brain cancer.
>
>If you crack a joke about brain cancer, I will PERSONALLY skullfuck you...
>
> ...you insensitive clod.

And wait'll you see what his brother'll do to anyone making a joke about the Slashdotter who died from penile cancer!

Re:A pre-emptive 'you insensitive clod' comment... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18754373)

Cancer?! I barely knew 'er!

Thanks, Rick Emerson! [slashdot.org]

Re:A pre-emptive 'you insensitive clod' comment... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18759803)

A brain and a cancer walk into a bar. The cancer says, "You don't have any brains!"

HAHAHAHAHAHA

Butt fucker

It's not a tumah! (-1, Offtopic)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18754213)

I was just thinking lastnight. We have spent just shy of one trillion dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not even considering the money spent elsewhere to fight supposed terrorism.

In that same time, I wonder how much we have spent on cancer research? I wonder if a trillion dollars in research money right now would find a cure for many of the major cancers (and in turn, surely provide insight for many of the other cancers and other diseases that could be related or benefit from things we learn through curing cancer).

Why don't we put forth the same heroic visionary goal for our entire society that we put for going to the moon forty years ago and "smokin' out ter'ists" these last six years? Not to mention, curing cancer is something we could definitely get other nations involved in so the amount of research and money involved would surely be much greater.

I am just baffled that in 2007 we are so eager to throw our money away on so many ridiculous things and so many unproven things and so many things that only serve to kill or anger other people who will then want to kill us in turn... but if we were to propose spending an enormous amount of money on curing a horrible disease for the betterment of all of mankind for now and forever, you'd be called a Utopian idealist fucking hippy or something.

Re:It's not a tumah! (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18754389)

Why don't we put forth the same heroic visionary goal for our entire society that we put for going to the moon forty years ago and "smokin' out ter'ists" these last six years?

Because construction (halliburton) and oil (everyone) companies don't profit from curing cancer.

In fact, the latter causes cancer, even directly from refinery emissions.

There's lots of things we don't do because there's no way to make money on them, or because we're making money on the status quo. For example, legalization of drugs. We all know that it would reduce crime. And of course, there's the supposed issue of terrorism - they claim that buying drugs funds terrorism, which is highly likely in fact. Buying imported drugs will necessarily be funding terrorism part of the time, it only makes sense. But the war on some drugs is highly profitable for a wide range of people. It also helps protect the plastics and tree paper industries by preventing large-scale production of hemp fibers and oils.

Re:It's not a tumah! (3, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18754433)

Yes, but we fund many forms of social welfare (not just corporate welfare). Other than feeding people, what could be a greater social welfare concern than curing a slew of the greatest sicknesses man has ever known?

Really, our society has advanced to the point where we have the resources to do a lot of great things that will benefit everyone. We just seem to lack the will. And while it's nice to think private industry will do it, they're not going to cure cancer, because a cancer cure won't make them rich. They'll lose money. And even if they simply stumble upon some sort of "prolong your life" drug (you know they don't care to CURE it of course), it won't be for decades.

Yes, money will solve everything. (2, Interesting)

Stickerboy (61554) | more than 7 years ago | (#18756527)

>Yes, but we fund many forms of social welfare (not just corporate welfare). Other than feeding people, what could be a greater social welfare concern than curing a slew of the greatest sicknesses man has ever known?

>Really, our society has advanced to the point where we have the resources to do a lot of great things that will benefit everyone. We just seem to lack the will. And while it's nice to think private industry will do it, they're not going to cure cancer, because a cancer cure won't make them rich. They'll lose money. And even if they simply stumble upon some sort of "prolong your life" drug (you know they don't care to CURE it of course), it won't be for decades.


O RLY?

For the record, the US federal government spends $28 billion on medical grants through the National Institutes of Health. Per year. According to Wikipedia, the NIH through the National Cancer Institute [wikipedia.org] sponsored the research of two-thirds of the available cancer drugs we have. And that's not counting state-funded research, or private grants.

Just like all the celebrities who made it their mission in the 1990s to preach, "let's throw more money at curing AIDS!", more money (or more "will", as you like) will not always equal a better solution, simply because the basic research is not there yet. Contrary to your opinion, there are hundreds of thousands of doctors and doctors-in-training who would love to be known as the one who cured a particular type of cancer. Even the ones that work for Big Pharm. The basic scientific problem is that many cancers are the body's own cells, with a few restrictions on growth removed (see Nowell's Law [gatewayforindia.com] ). How do you target and kill that without killing your patient? And that's the conundrum.

There have been many advances in cancer research, despite what laypeople will tell you. Many cancers caught in Stage I or even Stage II are curable with multimodality therapy (surgery, chemo, radiation). Which is why cancer screening is such a hot topic in medical literature now. Gardasil and other anti-HPV vaccines in the works have the potential to cure all or most cervical, penile, and scrotal cancers (all have an etiology that starts with HPV). Five years from now, I predict we'll be talking about Epstein-Barr Virus-associated cancers in the same way. The majority of juvenile cancers, like Wilm's tumor or ALL, can be cured. Society could cure 90%+ of future lung cancer by throwing away their damn cancer sticks.

But you would never know the amazing progress being made, because tens of thousands of anonymous researchers and doctors working in labs around the world to find the cure for "cancer" (that's like saying, find the "cure for sports injuries" or the "cure for autoimmune diseases") isn't sexy. What they say doesn't fit in a convenient seven-second sound-bite. Haven't people been working on cancer for centuries, where's the damn cure already?!? And wouldn't you rather know about the latest on Paris Hilton, or watch the latest Grey's Anatomy, or go play some more World of Warcraft instead?
   

Re:Yes, money will solve everything. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18757347)

Granted, you've proved yourself to be a complete idiot, but a great many researchers (and not merely those itching for grants on a personal level) have stated that they could probably cure X,Y or Z disease (cancer is often mentioned) with a certain amount of money and that the only thing holding them back is the necessary funding to move forward as quickly as society would like.

And wow! We spend a whole $28b on medical grants through the NIH per year! WOW! Is that really some significant number to you? We spend 51% of our national budget on the military. Our military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan will have cost us the better part of a trillion dollars over only six years. $28 billion split among all medical grants... verses a couple hundred billion rebuilding some other nation that we engaged in over false pretenses.

I'm not satisfied with "advances" every few years. We dedicated ourselves to hitting the moon within a decade. And we did it. Surely with enough funding, we can make the same dedication to certain health concerns rather than depending on Bill Gates to do it for us.

All of your points are fine. Whatever. There is nothing one can say that can change the fact that we're spending a thousand percent more on a ridiculous military effort that benefits NOBODY that could serve a greater benefit for countless people for the rest of existence if that money was spent on preserving life.

I'm not some fucking bleeding heart. I'm simply a pragmatist. Spend half a trillion dollars DEFENDING our country rather than attacking another (meanwhile leaving our own country generally undefended) and spend the other half on something more beneficial.

Your attitude appears to be "hey, we're making some progress, so why bother pushing it?".

Are you also one of those people that think space exploration is a wasted effort?

Re:Yes, money will solve everything. (1)

Stickerboy (61554) | more than 7 years ago | (#18760093)

OK, Mr. Coward. I'll bite. I've got time to burn.

>Granted, you've proved yourself to be a complete idiot, but a great many researchers (and not merely those itching for grants on a personal level) have stated that they could probably cure X,Y or Z disease (cancer is often mentioned) with a certain amount of money and that the only thing holding them back is the necessary funding to move forward as quickly as society would like.

Really. Pray tell, show me how money is going to get you through Phase I, II or III clinical trials any faster than usual. (Of course, corruption would probably work, but I don't anyone rational wants for US R&D to function that way.) Tell me how money buys you personally the insight to see the problem of targeting the average metastatic clump of cancer cells in such a way that a solution presents itself. And you can't. Because the basic science isn't there yet.

>And wow! We spend a whole $28b on medical grants through the NIH per year! WOW! Is that really some significant number to you? We spend 51% of our national budget on the military. Our military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan will have cost us the better part of a trillion dollars over only six years. $28 billion split among all medical grants... verses a couple hundred billion rebuilding some other nation that we engaged in over false pretenses.

Danger, AC, danger! Straw man alert! Oh noes! We're pouring money down a rathole in Iraq! But you've yet to show how throwing more money at cancer research will "cure cancer" one second faster!

>I'm not satisfied with "advances" every few years. We dedicated ourselves to hitting the moon within a decade. And we did it. Surely with enough funding, we can make the same dedication to certain health concerns rather than depending on Bill Gates to do it for us.

Did you read my original post? Any bit of it? There are genuinely underfunded diseases that need research out there. There are a few ultra-rare cancer types that could probably use some more money, but a bigger problem would be finding the researchers, and patients, to work the problem. Cancer in general is not underfunded. If you don't like the pace of research, why don't you get a MD/PhD yourself and become a hero?

Since you seem unfamiliar with the space program, listen closely. Going to the moon was an engineering problem. An expensive and complex engineering problem, to be sure, but all the basic science to do so had already been worked out. Curing cancer, on the other hand, is not.

>All of your points are fine. Whatever. There is nothing one can say that can change the fact that we're spending a thousand percent more on a ridiculous military effort that benefits NOBODY that could serve a greater benefit for countless people for the rest of existence if that money was spent on preserving life.

Blah blah blah, blah blah, blah blah blah. Tired of waving your scarecrow? Would I rather spend the money from the Iraq War on, say, subsidies for the American uninsured? Sure! It'd be a lot more productive than either throwing it away in Iraq, or spending it on already funded cancer research.

>I'm not some fucking bleeding heart. I'm simply a pragmatist.

ROTFL!!!1!11eleventy-one! No, please. Stop. Go back to playing World of Warcraft.

>Spend half a trillion dollars DEFENDING our country rather than attacking another (meanwhile leaving our own country generally undefended) and spend the other half on something more beneficial.

Sounds like you have an axe to grind, and one that has nothing to do with cancer research.

Re:It's not a tumah! (2, Insightful)

Unc-70 (975866) | more than 7 years ago | (#18755551)

I sympathise to a degree, such money would be better spent fighting disease rather than wars against fellow humans. However, it might be worth a look at the history books. See The War on Cancer [blogs.com]

I will also ask for an appropriation of an extra $100 million to launch an intensive campaign to find a cure for cancer, and I will ask later for whatever additional funds can effectively be used. The time has come in America when the same kind of concentrated effort that split the atom and took man to the moon should be turned toward conquering this dread disease. Let us make a total national commitment to achieve this goal. America has long been the wealthiest nation in the world. Now it is time we became the healthiest nation in the world.--President Richard M. Nixon in his 1971 State of the Union address.
The sad fact is that finding a cure for anything, and cancer in particular, is really, really hard.

Stock market responds positively (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18754337)

on the news of 32 less consumers in Virginia

Cell Phones (2, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 7 years ago | (#18754755)

Does this mean we can use our cell phones again?

Re:Cell Phones (3, Funny)

chowdy (992689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18754789)

please think of the bees!

Nice (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18754765)

But gliomas are comparatively rare compared to metastatic brain tumors. How about something to treat metastatic cancer, guys?

Re:Nice (1)

fatboy (6851) | more than 7 years ago | (#18756765)

My father died last year from non-small cell lung cancer. He had brain metastasis in his language center and thalamus. He had aphasia that was cured after radiation and a contentious use of large amounts of Dexadron. It was a very short five months, and I am glad he had some relief from the months-long headache he endured before treatment.

My mother-in-law was diagnosed with a rare type of glioma a month ago. My wife and I were expecting it to be a benign tumor. We were devastated by the diagnosis.

Any new cancer treatments or research are good, IMHO.

Re:Nice (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18758863)

I lost my mother to metastatic breast cancer 2 months ago. Part of that process was surgery followed by radiation to try to control brain mets. Unfortunately her aphasia was only temporarily relieved by this treatment. The disease ravaged her terribly - she lost motor control in one arm, the other had 2nd degree lymphedema from treatment of a cancer in her shoulder making it essentially useless. She lost the ability to walk, a tumor on one femur caused a broken hip that was inoperable. Eventually it was attack on her lungs that was fatal. It was 12 years between the time of original diagnoses of breast cancer until her death. It took 8 years for the first signs of metasticy to express.

People rarely die of metastatic brain tumors; it is the systemic attack that is fatal, eventually a critical organ becomes involved. I saw recently that John Edward's wife Katharyn now has this disease. It is a hard road they face.

It's not rare enough (1)

trigggl (758335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18765091)

This is the type of tumor I had. If you read the article you'll notice that it says the recurrence is always fatal. My tumor was treated with chemo two years ago. I've readjusted my 401K plan because I don't know how much longer I'll be around. Forgive me if I don't share your opinion.

I'm assuming that metastatic cancer is already high on the priority list anyways.

Cautious Optimism (5, Interesting)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 7 years ago | (#18754955)

As someone who has a brain tumor (not a glioma, but still malignant) I keep a sharp eye out for new developments. It seems like every other day a new "cure" is announced, but there is a LOT more work to do. Still, this is a good sign and the more research that goes on the better. Even if this ultimately doesn't prove to be as big a help as it initially appears to be, its one step closer. One thing that these types of treatments DO do, which is often overlooked, is prolong the life (And improve the quality of life) of people with the disease, making it something that is "managed" like say Diabetes as opposed to just being a death sentence. I'm 4 and a half years out of what my doctor told me was a 3-5 year life expectency, and I fully intend to beat that by a wide margin.

Re:Cautious Optimism (1)

talljuan (52154) | more than 7 years ago | (#18756881)

me too!

In my case, after the resection of my tumour (a gangliglioma) nearly 3 years ago, my prognosis does not anticipate any further development for the forseable future. However, there is no way to fully discount the possibility of a recurrence, so I do like to keep tabs on the field. If something starts to redevelop, I'd sure like to know of alternative treatments so I don't have to get any more holes drilled into my skull!

BTW, this work sounds related to that done by my neurosurgeon Dr Linda Liau and her team at UCLA (Westwood).

Best of health to you!
-j

Re:Cautious Optimism (1)

Capt Xano (805127) | more than 7 years ago | (#18761663)

Going on 6 years after the first resection of my high-grade glioma in 2001. There is life after brain tumors, and it's reassuring to know that there may be options if it ever comes back.

Other vaccinations for cancer (3, Informative)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 7 years ago | (#18755231)

This vaccination to treat brain tumors sounds similar to earlier research for treating skin cancer with vaccination [nih.gov] .

I am a colon cancer patient myself, having been through surgery, radiation, immunotherapy, and three kinds of chemotherapy over the past three years. Last fall I was contacted by NIH about participating in a new trial to test customized vaccinations for metastatic colon cancer. The protocol is pretty scary. First they extract white cells from your blood stream. Second, they knock out your immune system with some nasty chemotherapy. Meanwhile in the lab they genetically modify the white cells to recognize your tumors. Finally, they reinject you with the modified cells to establish an immune system that will attack the cancer.

Ultimately I was rejected as a participant due to characteristics of my tumors. I was disappointed not to be able to receive a possibly miraculous treatment, but it was also a relief to avoid a nasty ordeal.

I am also watching with interest a different type of vaccination treatment. Researchers are vaccinating subjects against CEA [cancer.org] , a common protein involved in colon cancer and other cancers. It's potentially much simpler, since the vaccination is against CEA in general rather than having to be customized for each patient.

AlpineR

Misleading artical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18755291)

Since my wife died of a glioma I happen to know something about it.

1) She lived for 10 years after diagnosis. Her first 5 years were not too bad. The next 5 years were not too good.

The 6.5 months figure is not really correct. Furthermore a surprisingly large percentage of the population which dies of other causes will be found to have a glioma which has not caused any symptoms. Ie. They _can_ be quite benign and very slow growing. They can also be present for a long time before they are recognized. In my wife's case, I suspect it was present when she was 16 and since she died at 36 this would be 20 years.

2) The cancer does not really "re-occur". It never goes away. These cancers can best be described as like a fungal growth in an apple... it tends to have tenticles and goes into areas of the brain where they cannot go.

3) What of the ages of the patients? This makes a rather big difference. My wife was 26 when she had her first operation. Had she been older she would not have likely lived as long.

and I'm getting stronger every day.

Ya. That's normal. Its also meaningless.

I would urge patients to seek out second opinions and investigate clinical trials. I can tell you I am so glad I did."

Sorry to be so heartless but this is just crap. Its good the patient is optimistic. But the patient's opinions are totally irrelevant.

I'll add that in my wife's case one of her doctors declared when she passed five (5) years that she "was cured". It seems they have this 5 year survival thing. She had her second operation within 4 months of him declaring her "cured".

Again, unbridled optimism. The only way a patient survives a glioma is if something else kills them first. Fortunately I didn't listen to that doctor and focused on managing the patient. At the time there were zero reported cures and I suspect nothing much has changed since then.

About the best one can hope for with tumors of this type is that the patient will have a relatively long period of good time followed by an abrupt ending. This minimizes the suffering.

In my wife's case this is partially what happened. She went back to uni, finished her degree. My son was born and yes I had to raise him and my daughter myself. But that was far easier than looking after her. In the end, both kids are doing well and my son has now obtained his degree with great distinction.

One thing I will point out. Patients with a glioma typically need constant supervision and the medical community's prolonging of the survival time in my case resulted in me ending up as an unpaid nurse with no help for 1/2 a decade.

She did well until the second operation. After the second operation she was not the same. Life was a nightmare for me. Her decline period really started then and I would say she was about at 75% which slowly declined to 50% over the next 4.5 years. At this point she took an abrupt turn for the worst and had a 3rd operation, ended up in a nursing home then an auxillary hospital and died. The time frame between the 3rd operation and her death was about 5 months. Mercifully it was short.

The thing I found is there is a considerable degree of incompetence in the medical community. This ranges from the unbridled optimism of her oncologist who declared her cured to the GP who took over her case when she went into the nursing home. The nursing home was NOT appropriate for her. They lost her one day. She was badly burned on another occasion. Then her GP was too stupid to be able to pick up the phone can call the specialist to find out the med levels. I had to phone the specialist (neuro surgeon) and tell him what was happening and get the dosage corrected behind the GP's back! His comment is that he "usually didn't make prescription changes over the phone..." but he did in this case.

Then, the issue of zero help. There was a Psych assigned to the case. She was chain smoking and she burned every piece of furniture in the house and the floor and the carpets too... because she was having several seizures per week. When I complained about the danger to the two (2) preschool kids his response was "Would you like to set up an appointment to talk about it?". The answer was NO!.

I needed help which I did not get. Talking about it was going to do anything. Manpower would have helped. Again, incompetence.

I found out later in another case the patient actually "did" burn the house down. In my case I only had to call the fire department once.

Oh... then the "United Way" and "Family Services"?

I was consulting. This is the only way I could provide the supervision she needed and earn living for my family. When I told them I needed help when a client called me in for a meeting... their response? "Can I ask the clients to schedule the meetings say on Thursday morning?" I mean - get real!

One thing I will say is that the companies I consulted for helped me and my family far more than the "United Way" and "Family Services" ever did. In retrospect, the people who were supposed to be in the business of helping sat on their bums and the people who were in the business of running the engines of commerce came to our assistance.

Re:Misleading artical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18781205)

Ordeal well related.

Not surprised you haven't stimulated a lot of replies. In a system like ours where we're all on our own, it's easier to live in a state of denial than accept that many of us will end up experiencing similar circumstances.

Professor I had wrote a book called Damned Lies and Statistics. The "five years of survival and you're cured" maxim has to be one of the classic foundations for all sorts of published nonsense.

And I worked night shift at a hospital for some years in my 20s. Nothing you've said surprises me. I've always thought the "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" of hospital movies was the rather overlooked early Paddy Chayefsky film called The Hospital with George C. Scott and Diana Rigg of The Avengers. One of the most horrifyingly accurate fictions imaginable about hospitals from behind the stage curtain. Seen it all: Girl who brought her two-foot iguana into the supply room to keep her company. Standing look-out for the day shift so a dude could make out with a patient in the back room because she was being kept up all night to stress her for an EEG. Chuckling over lurid medical records in middle-of-the-night parties with their staff. Standing in for the boss while he went home to deal with one of his girlfriend's psychotic episodes. The one who always came in wearing shades at one in the morning. Participating in the department hunt for an employee who routinely wandered the complex and got herself trapped in a lock-in room. For that matter the employee who went into the mental wing without his ID and wasn't allowed to leave until the day shift could verify him. Guess they didn't have a very good idea who _was_ supposed to be there. And the fact that it was discovered that the psychiatrists were double-billing their patients personally while I was there. [Hey, they're crazy. They'll notice?] The guy with the scars over both eyelashes who wandered into the lunch room in his gown and kept trying to put a dollar into the change machine width-wise when it accepted bills length-wise.

Yeah, tell me about privatized medicine in the U.S. and how it is _SOOOO_ much more professional than that demonic socialized medicine that just anybody has a right to.

Oh, so THAT's what Phase 2 is! (1)

QuantumPion (805098) | more than 7 years ago | (#18755715)

If this drug pans out, we all know what phase 3 is! ;)

Hilarity! (1, Flamebait)

pclminion (145572) | more than 7 years ago | (#18755911)

Of the 12 patients being treated, eight can currently be evaluated for overall survival

That's the politest way of saying "They're dead" that I've ever heard.

Read the Article (3, Insightful)

trigggl (758335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18765231)

"Of the 12 patients being treated, eight can currently be evaluated for overall survival, while four are still receiving treatment. Seven out of the eight patients have exceeded the historical median benchmark of 6.5 months survival from time of recurrence. The investigators will continue to follow the patients for overall survival. Based on these results, a larger, multi-center phase 2 study is planned for late 2007."

What I get from that is that they can't include 4 of them in the results yet. I don't see anywhere in the article anything that suggests any patients in the study passing. I would think that they would want to be clear on that in a study. You can get sued for giving people false hope.

This is what happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18762979)

when you elect a conservative. They'll always sell their soul to the highest bidder. The RIAA have the deeper pockets, since logic and truth are always their own reward. Guess which one little Stevie and friends are interested in?

Would this work ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18765249)

... on low-grade astrocytomas ? I and the one in my spinal cord have been getting along somewhat well for the last 30 years (it hasn't killed me or rendered me paraplegic, and I haven't had it removed completely, mainly because that would to one of the two former things), but I'd really appreciate a way to get rid of the thing that doesn't involve removing parts of my spinal cord along with it.
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