Compiled by Sam Jaffe

Cancer vaccine therapies continue to inch toward approval. Even with the complex regulations controlling biologics and cell based techniques, over 100 such treatments are undergoing clinical trials, with more than a dozen in Phase III trials. The underlying mechanisms vary widely, but they share the goal of boosting the immune system to attack pre-existing tumors. Here are four examples of formulations that have shown some promise.

Cytokine Vaccine: A whole-cell vaccine called GVAX, produced by South San Francisco-based Cell Genesys, has shown early promise in Phase II trials for lung cancer. This vaccine takes the patient's tumor cells and then introduces genetic material into their genomes that causes them to secrete GM-CSF, a cytokine, and then irradiates them to weaken them. The tumor cells are then injected back into the body, where they alert the immune system to attack the tumor.

(G. Dranoff et al., "Vaccination...

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