Global Health Asia-Pacific Special Issue - Page 38

Cancer News

Vaccine extends life of patients with brain cancer
The therapy is particularly effective for those with a poor prognosis

Anew vaccine for a hard-to-treat brain cancer called glioblastoma has increased survival by several months or even years , raising hopes the therapy could mark a step change in the treatment protocol for the notoriously deadly condition .

Patients with glioblastoma usually survive 12 to 18 months after diagnosis or even less , but the new research showed that the vaccine could more than double the percentage of patients who lived for at least five years , from 5.7 percent to 13 percent . On average , newly diagnosed patients who received the vaccine lived for 19.3 months while those who got a dummy pill survived for 16.5 months . The improvement was even starker in patients with recurrent glioblastoma , whose survival time almost doubled from 7.8 months with a dummy pill to 13.2 months for the
vaccine group .
“ The total results are astonishing ,” said Professor Keyoumars Ashkan , a neurosurgeon at King ’ s College hospital and the European chief investigator , in the Guardian . He added the findings “ offer fresh hope to patients battling with glioblastoma ,” especially older people and those who can ’ t undergo surgery because treatment outcomes are considered poor .
The vaccine is not preventative but a form of immunotherapy that trains the immune system to recognise and kill cancer cells . “ The vaccine works by stimulating the patient ’ s own immune system to fight against the patient ’ s tumour . It provides a personalised solution , working with a patient ’ s immune system , which is the most intelligent system known to man ,” said Professor Ashkan .
Vegetarian diet can reduce bowel cancer risk in men
There are differences across ethnicities while women didn ’ t see similar benefits

Men who eat a plant-based diet high in vegetables , whole grains , nuts , and legumes have a 22 percent reduction in bowel cancer risk compared to those who consume little or no such foods , according to a new study .

The research involved 79,952 men and 93,474 women in the US but didn ’ t lead to similar findings for females , suggesting the association is more established in males .
“ Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide and the risk of developing colorectal cancer over a lifetime is one in 23 for men and one in 25 for women ,” said the study ’ s corresponding author Dr Jihye Kim , a professor at the College of Life Sciences of Kyung Hee University , in the Guardian .
She added that previous research backed up the notion that vegetarian diets could prevent colorectal cancer , but their impact was still unclear . “ Our findings suggest that eating a healthy plant-based diet is associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer .” The researchers hypothesise that the antioxidants in plant foods play a role in risk reduction because they fix chronic inflammation , a risk factor for cancer .
The higher risk in men might offer one reason why vegetarian diets have a bigger beneficial impact on them compared to women . The scientists found the impact also varied across ethnicities , with white men having a 24 percent reduced risk compared to 20 percent in Japanese- Americans . They suggest that more studies be done to clarify ethnic differences .
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