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Pancreatic Cancer Vaccine

Developed by Elizabeth Jaffee, M.D., and Daniel Laheru, M.D., this novel vaccine, supercharges the immune system and causes immune cells, which tend to be tolerant of cancer, to seek out and kill pancreatic cancer cells throughout the body.

The pancreatic cancer vaccine is a form of immunotherapy.

The vaccine uses pancreatic cancer cells that have been treated with radiation to inhibit their ability to grow. These cells have also been genetically altered to secrete a molecule called GM-CSF. This molecule acts as a lure to attract immune system cells to the site of the tumor vaccine where they encounter proteins called antigens on the surface of the radiated cells. Then, these newly armed immune cells patrol the rest of the patient's body to destroy any circulating pancreas cancer cells still remaining.

Since pancreatic cancer is often found in areas outside of the pancreas, the vaccine could allow physicians to target microscopic cancer cells that could escape other therapies. This vaccine is being tested in clinical trials.

More Information About Pancreatic Cancer in the Health Library

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