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    Vaccine/androgen ablation combination found safe

    A combination vaccine and androgen ablation therapy is showing promise in some patients with prostate cancer.

    In a phase II clinical trial, men with advanced prostate cancer (as evidenced by two rising PSA values and no visible metastasis) whose cancer is resistant to hormone therapy and who had either surgery or radiation were recruited from member institutions in the ECOG-ACRIN (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group-American College of Radiology Imaging Network) Cancer Research Group. In their work, which was published online in European Urology (Jan. 12, 2015), the authors examined two different experimental treatment options.

    RELATED: Immunotherapy will define new era of GU cancer care

    In step one, patients were treated with PROSTVAC-V/TRICOM and PROSTVAC-F/TRICOM. PROSTVAC-V is derived from a vaccinia virus that was used to vaccinate against smallpox. This virus is modified to produce a PSA protein that helps focus the body’s immune response to the PSA in the prostate tumor. In addition, it is modified to produce three other proteins that help increase an immune cell’s ability to destroy its target (TRICOM).

    PROSTVAC-F is made from the fowlpox virus and contains the same genetic material as PROSTAC-V, but is given multiple times to further boost the body’s immune system.

    Patients were given one cycle of PROSTVAC-V/TRICOM followed by PROSTVAC-F/TRICOM for subsequent cycles in combination with granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor, a protein that normally increases the amount of certain white blood cells and make them more active. When in drug form, it is used to boost the body’s immune system to fight off disease.

    Next: No disease progression after 6 months

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    Benjamin P. Saylor
    Saylor is content managing editor for Urology Times.

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