As I mentioned before, I have been learning so much about the wonderful work you all do over the past few months. I really enjoyed writing the immunology/serology supplement for the Oct. 22 issue. It was interesting learning about all the new vaccines in development and the great lengths immunologists and serologists go to in order to help us fight disease.
Cancer vaccines are of special interest for me. Even before I started working for ADVANCE and gaining more knowledge of vaccines, I was intrigued by Merck’s HPV vaccine, Gardasil. It was, and still is, amazing to me how this vaccine can help protect females from getting cervical cancer.
Soon after I wrote my supplement, I found a news byte on another vaccine that immediately caught my attention. Currently, there is a clinical trial evaluating a brain cancer vaccine taking place at NYU Medical Center. The study will look at if the vaccine, named DCVax-Brain, can be used as an additional form of therapy, along with chemo and radiation.
This hit home with me because my mother was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer in May. She has endured one surgery so far, and a few rounds of radiation and chemo as well.
An acquaintance of mine whose father died of this aggressive form of cancer about 15 years ago has worked as a nurse extern in a neuroscience unit. She has told me of all the amazing medical breakthroughs there have been in the field that, unfortunately, were not available when her dad had cancer.
Remembering Jill’s words and reading about the DCVax-Brain vaccine keeps me hopeful there will be new treatments out there for my mom and others. And it, again, cements in my mind the tireless hours you all work trying to save the population from disease are well spent and extremely important.