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TB vaccine may help stop melanoma

July 16th, 2010

As many readers will be aware, Australia has the highest risk of developing melanoma of anywhere in the world. Australians have a lifetime risk of one in 28 persons who live to age 75.

Studies have recently shown that vaccination early in life against smallpox (vaccinia) or tuberculosis (BCG) or both, confers a significant and enduring degree of protection against melanoma! The protections seems to result from preventing tumour development, rather than killing melanoma cells already present in the body. Yellow Fever vaccine may also have the same effect. A recent study of 28,000 adults vaccinated with the Yellow Fever vaccine, showed there was a period of about 10 years between vaccination and observed protection.( Here is another good reason to have your shots before you travel!!)

BCG and Smallpox vaccine are of little or no value in treating established melanoma.

Confirmatory studies in different settings are required, but this effect has also been found in persons who have a history of certain severe, but uncommon infections with a fever above 38.5˚C (sepsis, TB, Staph aureus). An intriguing finding indeed.

For more info MJA; .

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