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Tumor cell vaccination trial to promote anti-leukemia responses

() is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow that most often affects older adults. responds to bone marrow stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT); however, the rate of relapse for remains relatively high. A benefit of allo-HSCT is that treatment can result in the development of an anti-tumor response produced by the grafted cells and is associated with a low risk of cancer relapse.

In this issue of the , Catherine Wu and colleagues at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston report the results of a clinical trial that tested the effectiveness of vaccination with a CLL patient’s own leukemia cells in the development of anti-tumor responses and relapse reduction.

Patients with advanced CLL were vaccinated with their own irradiated tumor cells following allo-HSCT. Nearly 3 years after vaccination, 13 of the 18 vaccinated patients were in complete remission. The 6 patients that received the maximum vaccine dosage produced T cells that specifically reacted against tumors cells.

These results suggest that tumor has the potential to enhance anti-tumor responses following allo-HSCT.


“Autologous CLL cell vaccination early after transplant induces leukemia-specific T cells” J Clin Invest. doi:10.1172/JCI69008.

This study was funded by the National Cancer Institute, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Translational Research Program. Please see the article for additional information, including authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, etc.

Journal of Clinical Investigation