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Personalised cancer jab deemed safe, shows potential benefit against disease

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PHOTO: DUNYANEWS

*New tobacco tax manual shows ways to save lives, money, build back better after COVID-19
The World Health Organisation (WHO’s) new technical manual on tobacco tax policy and administration shows countries ways to cut down on over US$1.4 trillion in health expenditures and lost productivity due to tobacco use worldwide.

According to the document published, last week, improved tobacco taxation policies can also be a key component of building back better after COVID-19, where countries need additional resources to respond and to finance health system recovery.

Unit Head for the Fiscal Policies for Health team in the Health Promotion Department at WHO, Jeremias N. Paul Jr, said: “We launched this new manual to provide updated, clear, and practical guidance for policymakers, finance officials, tax authorities, customs officials and others involved in tobacco tax policy to create and implement the strongest tobacco taxation policies for their specific countries.

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“We hope this document sheds light on the significant advantages to raising tobacco taxation. The data and insights provided here should be an eye opener for policymakers worldwide.”

The ‘best buy’ highlighted in the manual not only saves money, but saves lives. The human and economic costs of tobacco are on the rise – eight million people died because of tobacco last year.

Meanwhile, according to results from an investigator-initiated phase I clinical trial, a personalised cancer vaccine raised no safety concerns and showed potential benefit in patients with different cancers, including lung and bladder that have a high risk of recurrence.

The results were from an investigator-initiated phase I clinical trial presented during the virtual American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2021.

Study author and Assistant Director for Early Phase and Immunotherapy Trials at The Tisch Cancer Institute and Assistant Professor of Medicine (Hematology and Medical Oncology) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Dr. Thomas Marron, said: “While immunotherapy has revolutionized the treatment of cancer, the vast majority of patients do not experience a significant clinical response with such treatments.

“Cancer vaccines, which typically combine tumor-specific targets that the immune system can learn to recognize and attack to prevent recurrence of cancer. The vaccine also contains an adjuvant that primes the immune system to maximize the efficacy.”

A phase 1 trial’s primary goal is to determine the safety of an experimental treatment, which was achieved in this trial. Researchers also saw early potential benefits of the vaccine after blood tests of one of the patients showed an immune response from the vaccine, and two other patients had robust response to immunotherapy afterward, results that are normal after being exposed to a cancer vaccine.

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