Patients Say New Cancer Vaccine Trial is Promising

January 24, 2012 Updated Jan 24, 2012 at 9:37 PM EDT

By WKBW Admin

January 24, 2012 Updated Jan 24, 2012 at 9:37 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW)- Nancy Holiman knows Roswell Park Cancer Institute all too well. She works at the institute and it's also where she has been treated for 3 separate cancers.

Holiman is thrilled at RPCI's announcement to launch a clinical research study of a vaccine designed to eliminate cancer cells in the body and prevent them from coming back. The clinical study will take cells from a cancer patient, train them to recognize cancer cells as bad for the body, then transfer them back into the patient. According to doctors, those cells will then remember to attack and kill cancer cells.

For Holiman, this vaccine trial is more than encouraging, it could be a lifesaver.

"To know that you could have something in your system and be there long term, it would just help you with peace of mind," said Holiman.

This new study is the first of its kind and will be customized and produced for each patient inside an exclusive cell production facility at Roswell.

"The immune cells are trained to live longer and to always remember that cancer cells are bad and should be attacked and killed," said Dr. Kunle Odunsi, Director of RPCI's Center for Immunotherapy.

The first phase of the study will target 18 - 20 people with different types of cancer. Doctors say they have high hopes for this vaccine, but add it could take at least two years before knowing just how effective it is.