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Hospital trials leukaemia vaccine

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A leukaemia vaccine treatment that “tricks” the immune system into thinking that cancer cells are foreign cells

The new drug will be trialled in the coming months at King’s College London on patients with the most common form of the disease, acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

The vaccine has been created by genetically modifying cells taken from a patient, which are then reinserted to “track down” foreign cancer cells that often remain following chemotherapy and which can cause a relapse.

Professor Farzin Farzaneh, professor of molecular medicine at King’s College London, said: “This vaccine activates the body’s own immune system against leukaemia to prevent it from reoccurring.

“The treatment effectively tricks the immune system into thinking the leukaemia cells are foreign cells even though they are the patient’s own. The patient’s immune system then destroys these cells.”

It has taken 20 years to develop the treatment, which has been funded by the Department of Health, the Leukaemia Research Fund (LRF) and the Elimination of Leukaemia Fund (ELF).

If successful, it is hoped that the new drug will be used to treat other types of cancer.

Copyright Press Association 2010



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