APRIL 18, 2005 | The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) reached another milestone April 13 with the dedication of an immunotherapy laboratory to develop cancer-fighting vaccines.
The Elizabeth Weitzenhoffer Blass Cancer Vaccine Core Laboratory in the
“We don’t think immunotherapy will cure all cancers, but it will play an important role in the development of cures,” said Frits van Rhee, M.D., Ph.D., director of Immunotherapy for the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, and associate professor of medicine for the UAMS College of Medicine. He said the last five years have seen an explosion in the development of immunotherapy.
Many tumors, including multiple myeloma, breast, cervical and ovarian cancers, are difficult to completely eradicate with standard therapies. Immunotherapy boosts a patient’s “T” lymphocyte cells, which are the body’s own natural resistance to the tumor. Immunotherapy may eliminate residual cancer cells, resulting in long-term cures.
UAMS supporters, faculty and staff gathered in the Phillip Leon Rayford Auditorium in the
During her tour, Blass was told by a researcher how grateful they were for the new equipment. The old cell harvester and counter stopped working just as the new equipment came in. The harvester and counter are essential for monitoring cellular responses to vaccines.
“The generous support of Mrs. Elizabeth Blass to establish a Cancer Vaccine Core Laboratory provides equipment essential for monitoring and studying immune responses to candidate tumor antigens, allowing for the development of exciting, novel and potentially curative treatments for a variety of cancers,” van Rhee said.
“This important project has been created from Betsy’s gift and vision and other matching gifts,” said James Suen, M.D., director of the ACRC and professor and chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology in the
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