This medical video looks into the advancement of kidney cancer treatments.
Read the full transcript »
Jennifer Matthews: Just looking at Connie West now, you would never guess both lungs were once filled with cancerous tumors. Connie West: I wasn't sure if five years ago, I was going to have a life. Jennifer Matthews: Chemotherapy and two experimental drugs failed, so Connie signed up for a vaccine study three years ago. Dr. John Nemunaitis: It's a way of stimulating the immune system to attack the cancer. Jennifer Matthews: Doctors first removed tumors from patients to make the vaccine called G-Vax. Dr. John Nemunaitis: We then take that tissue to the laboratory and we break it down to single cells. Then, we put a gene inside these cells and the gene is called GM-CSF gene. Jennifer Matthews: The hope is that when those altered cells are injected, the immune system recognizes them the same way it identifies an infection and destroys the cancer. Over 12 weeks, 33 people with advanced-stage lung cancer received the injections. Dr. John Nemunaitis: This is one of the cancerous tumors that Connie had in her lung after completing her vaccination course, and you can see, very clearly, there is no bump so to say. The cancer itself has completely disappeared. Connie West: I don't take any medications. I have no restrictions. The doctor told me to go out and live my life, and that's what I am doing. Jennifer Matthews: This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.