After decades of false starts, doctors are tapping the immune system to help stave off cancer, USA Today reports. Using proteins from patients' tumors, American researchers have created a vaccine that can put off lymphoma relapses by 14 months. In one study, a cocktail of the vaccine and two other proteins fooled immune systems into attacking the cancer, even though it arises from human tissues, not a foreign body.
Patients who received both the protein vaccine and immune boosters relapsed after 44 months, the study found, while those who only got boosters relapsed after 30. The vaccine can only treat cancer, not prevent it. "It's a remarkable initial step," a doctor says. "But it's not a home run."