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They refer to it as a vaccine because it causes a person's immune system to fight the disease, though it's not preventive like the flu shot. In this case, the treatment teaches the body to recognize tumors and attack them.
Researchers created the treatment directly inside the tumor. To do this, they injected one tumor with a stimulant to recruit immune cells, treated the tumor with a low dose of radiation then injected it with a stimulant to activate immune cells. These activated immune cells then travel throughout the body, killing tumors wherever they find them.
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In three of the patients, the treatment shrunk not only the tumor that was treated but also other ones throughout the body, putting these patients into remission.
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"It's really promising, and the fact you get not only responses in treated areas, but areas outside the field [of treatment with radiation] is really significant," said Dr. Silvia Formenti, chairwoman of radiation oncology at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, who was not involved in the study and is working on a similar treatment.
While promising, the effect was observed in only three...
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