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Pox Vaccine Treats Liver Cancer

A genetically engineered smallpox vaccine improved the survival of liver cancer patients participating in a phase II clinical trial.

By | November 11, 2011

DREAMSTIME.COM, SUTO NORBERT

High doses of a smallpox vaccine modified to lyse cancer cells improved the survival rates of patients with advanced liver cancer, according to the results of phase II clinical trials, which were reported last weekend at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases meeting.

Developed by the San Francisco-based biotech, Jennerex, the JX-594 vaccine uses the pox strain once used to vaccinate people against smallpox, but which has been genetically altered to specifically infect solid tumors by targeting common genetic cancer defects. When administered at varying doses to 30 liver cancer patients participating in a mid-stage clinical trial run jointly by Jennerex and the University of California, San Diego, patients who received high doses lived for a median of 13.8 months, whereas patients who received one tenth of the dose lived just 6-7 months. In light of the promising results, Jennerex plans to launch a Phase III trials in 2012 comparing the JX-594 vaccine with Nexavar, a kinase inhibitor currently used to treat advanced kidney and liver patients, Reuters reported.

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