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Let's talk about how scientists are mobilizing our immune system to fight cancer.

The approach is to use vaccines to activate our immune system so our body will fight the disease. One of these new vaccines is called TroVax. It's an altered virus that's been engineered to make a human tumor protein called 5T4.

When this vaccine virus is injected it activates the immune system to make antibodies against the viral proteins, including the 5T4 tumor protein. That's the key. The 5T4 protein is the same protein on the surface of cancer cells like kidney cancer.

The vaccine gets our immune system to target not only the virus but also the cancer cells for destruction which in studies reduced the size of tumors and controlled new growth.

In clinical trials, TroVax and a standard treatment were given to 150 patients with advanced kidney cancer. Two patients had their tumors shrink and 15 others were stable for more than 3 months. These are very encouraging results given their late stage tumors. It's unlikely current kidney cancer therapies would have worked.

If TroVax gets to the market, it will be especially vital in fighting late stage cancers. Because while the 5-year survival rate for kidney cancer in the early stages can be 75%, it plummets to five to fifteen percent once it's metastasized to the lymph nodes. And it's just five percent if it has spread to other organs. That's why this drug gives hope to the 51,000 Americans expected to get kidney cancer this year.

What makes this novel cancer vaccine even more exciting is that it may be used on most types of solid tumors. For patients who want more time with their families, TroVax may offer them that hope.

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Oxford BioMedica (LSE: OXB) is a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development and commercialization of innovative gene-based medicines. The Company was established in 1995 as a spin out from Oxford University.Oxford BioMedica's products use genes as the mediators of a therapeutic effect and/or immune response. TroVax is one of their products.
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University of Florida Shands Cancer Center reports on the results presented at the 2005 International Colorectal Cancer Congress, that the vaccine TroVax® in addition to chemotherapy is safe and may improve outcomes for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.
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This US government website offers up-to-date information for locating federally and privately supported clinical trials for a wide range of diseases and conditions. A clinical trial (also clinical research) is a research study in human volunteers to answer specific health questions. Interventional trials determine whether experimental treatments or new ways of using known therapies are safe and effective under controlled environments. Observational trials address health issues in large groups of people or populations in natural settings. ClinicalTrials.gov currently contains more than 41,000 clinical studies sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, other federal agencies, and private industry. Studies listed in the database are conducted in all 50 States and in over 140 countries.
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The purpose of one study listed on Clinical Trials.gov is a study is to test the safety of an investigational vaccine called TroVax when given in conjunction with Interleukin-2 (IL-2) treatment. TroVax is the experimental product in this trial and its value as a medicine has not yet been proven. Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is standard treatment for your cancer, which means that you could receive it even if you choose not to participate in this study. TroVax is being studied as a possible treatment for patients with cancer of the kidney.
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Yet another clinical trial is examining the efficacy of TroVax in the treatment of prostate cancer
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