‘Findings will make vaccines more effective in older people’

NEW research from a United States vaccine expert will have major implications for cancer treatment, swine flu vaccinations and vaccinations for other infectious diseases, it has been claimed.

Recent studies have shown that there is limited survival advantage to immunising over 55s, but Professor Albert Deisseroth, speaking at University College Cork yesterday, claims his findings will make flu and cancer vaccines more effective in older people.

The claims come as Ireland is gearing up to vaccinate thousands of elderly people in preparation for a predicted swine flu pandemic, and figures show that three out of five people over the age of 65 are vaccinated against the flu virus.

Presenting his findings at a three-day international conference at the Cork Cancer Research Centre Prof Deisseroth, of the FDA, said that he hoped the new vaccine would be ready in the next year.

In his presentation, the professor summarised efforts under way to apply the vaccine strategy to cancer as well as to the development of a swine flu vaccination which he claims will be safer, more potent and easier to produce than the current strategies.

The new vaccine, he said, yielded positive results in older people, prevented development of tumour formation and growth and stimulated an immune response to flu viruses.

Prof Deisseroth believes his findings will have implications for the future of cancer treatment too as the response to cancer vaccines for the most common malignancies is limited because of functional defects in the immune system acquired over time.

The National Cancer Registry of Ireland has predicted a 90% increase in cancer cases from 2005 to 2020 with about two-thirds of this increase expected in the growing numbers of elderly people.


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