Mar 18, 2009 | 2
Cytomegalovirus (CMV), a form of herpes, is the most commonly transmitted infection between pregnant women and their babies, affecting 30,000 U.S. newborns a year and leaving some 8,000 of them with permanent damage ranging from mental retardation to vision and hearing loss. Scientists have had a tough time trying to come up with a vaccine against the virus, which is harmless in healthy adults, though it can cause eye inflammation and changes in blood cell count and the gastrointestinal tract in people with AIDS or other immune system conditions.
But one experimental vaccine is showing promise in preventing women from becoming infected with CMV. (As Scientific American noted in its January issue, CMV vaccines are also being tested in brain tumor patients, because many of the malignancies are found to contain the virus.)
Jan 8, 2009 | 2
With the exception of the so-called cervical cancer vaccine, no shots have been approved specifically to prevent malignant tumors. But cervical cancer, which is caused by the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV), isn't the only tumor linked to a virus; another is cytomegalovirus (CMV), a usually harmless form of herpes that's the target of a possible therapeutic cancer vaccine for brain tumor patients.
As Scientific American reports this month, CMV has been found in the most common type of brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) — the cancer Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy is battling. Duke University is recruiting 20 patients with these types of tumors for a combined phase 1/2 clinical trial (an early stage of testing that checks the safety and usefulness of a product) of an experimental vaccine treatment for these patients. It's also testing a similar version in another trial.
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