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Experimental Vaccine Shows Promise in Treating Advanced Prostate Cancer

March 27, 1997|From Times staff and wire reports

An experimental vaccine that boosts the body's natural defenses is showing early promise in victims of advanced prostate cancer.

The treatment involves the use of amoeba-like blood cells, called dendritic cells, which circulate in the blood. They eat up foreign proteins, such as prostate-specific membrane antigen, and hold them up for other blood cells as an example of something they should be looking for.

The researchers tested the treatment on 51 men with advanced prostate cancer. Although the experiment was intended largely to show the safety of the procedure, seven men actually got somewhat better.

Dr. Gerald P. Murphy of the Pacific Northwest Cancer Foundation in Seattle described his research Wednesday at a Cancer Society conference.

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