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Inhibiting Inhibitors

Other researchers have taken an altogether different tack in developing cancer vaccines. Recognizing that some cytokines associated with tumors do not activate an immune response but actually inhibit it, a group led by Habib Fakhrai, director of brain-tumor gene therapy at University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine, has researched techniques for preventing tumor cells from secreting inhibitory cytokines. This past year Fakhrai published an approach for treating an aggressive brain tumor that secretes an inhibitory cytokine called transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-). This cancer usually causes patients’ deaths within a year of diagnosis.

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