WebMD Health News
Brunilda Nazario, MD
July 21, 2008 -- Plants may be a powerhouse for researchers making
personalized vaccines for patients with follicular lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
The basic idea is to use plants as a factory to quickly and inexpensively
grow vaccines tailored to each patient's follicular lymphoma.
That approach worked and was safe in a small, preliminary test noted in
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
They tested their strategy on 16 follicular lymphoma patients, growing their
personalized vaccines in tobacco leaves for three to four months.
Starting about six months after their last round of chemotherapy, the
patients got their vaccine in a monthly shot, delivered to their thigh, every
month for six months. Some also got shots of a chemical that boosted their
The point of the study was to see if the plant plan was practical and safe.
It was; no side effects were reported and the plants grew the vaccines without
messing them up.
More than 70% of the patients had an immune response to their vaccine and
47% had the specific immune response that was sought. But the study wasn't
designed to test the effectiveness of the plant plan; further research is
needed to see how well those vaccines work.
The researchers included A. A. McCormick of Large Scale Biology Corporation
in Vacaville, Calif., which made the vaccines.
SOURCES:McCormick, A. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, July
22, 2008; vol 105: pp. 10131-10136.News release, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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