Brazilian Doctor Unveils Cancer Vaccine
A new therapeutic vaccine revolutionizes patients' fight with the illness
Email Article  Print Article Ana Maria Brambilla (brambilla)    
After 10 years of research, Dr. Jose Alexandre Barbuto, an immunologist at São Paulo University, launched the most powerful weapon yet against cancer. Its name is HybriCell, a vaccine for patients who suffer advanced-stage melanoma or renal cancer.

▲ Immunologist Jose Alexandre Barbuto
The therapeutic vaccine, which helps patients fight their cancer, is documented to improve patients' life quality and allow them to live up to four times longer than expected. From March 2001 until March 2003, Barbuto's team tested HybriCell on a group of 35 people suffering from these two virulent cancers. In 2004, another 35 people were put on the medication, and today there are more than 100 people in the study. Eighty percent of these patients showed benefits without any side effects.

The vaccine acts directly in dendritic tumor cells, inhibiting the multiplication of cancerous cells. Cancer patients who are told they will live only six to nine months could live anywhere from 13 to 21 months longer with vaccine treatment. The vaccine can be more effective if applied in patients with initial-stage cancer. But the vaccine is a treatment which will likely be used with more traditional treatments like chemotherapy. It is not preventative medication.

This is one of the first therapeutic cancer vaccines in the world. Submitted to local authorities, Barbuto's discovery was approved by Brazil's Sanitary Vigilance Agency, and put on the market soon after. Today, only one hospital, the Sirio Libanes Hospital in São Paulo, is treating its patients with the cancer vaccine. Other hospitals in this region can request doses of the vaccine.

▲ How the vaccine works
ⓒ2005 Genoa
HybriCell is produced by Genoa Laboratory, and Barbuto administers each one. He extracts diseased cells from the patient, manipulates them and introduces them back into cells in vaccine form. This process can take over nine hours.

At present, HybriCell cannot be serially produced or exported to other countries. But in the near future, this technology can be transmitted to the world biotechnology community. Barbuto has already published his research results in Cancer Immunology, a scientific journal in the United States.

Reuters news agency has reported that over 60 companies are working on cancer vaccines. Most of the firms are small biotechnology groups whose products are in a very early stage. Recent results show that 80 therapeutic vaccines have been studied, but none of them are commercialized.

Projecting the importance of the vaccine HybriCell, the President of the Paulista Society of Clinical Oncology, Nise Hitomi Yamaguchi, said Barbuto's research is a benchmark for the world's cancer immunology and treatment.
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Many channels are available for people to ask questions about this vaccine on the Web. More information (in Portuguese) can be found here: www.vacinacontraocancer.

The author is a journalist and student of communications in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

2005/05/07 오전 12:20
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