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A. Changing The Biology Of Prostate Cancer

Narrator: This is Science Today. Historically, prostate cancer was thought to be a disease which could not be stimulated or enhanced by the body's immune system. But Dr. Robert Figlin of UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center says an new experimental gene therapy treatment now underway may change that.

Figlin: It's really been through out laboratory work over the last five years that we and others have started to show that a cancer that is historically thought to be not immunogenic, can become immunogenic with the proper manipulations.

Narrator: In this case, doctors are injecting into the prostate gland a product called Leuvectin. This is a mixture of fatty molecules and genes which produce interleukin-2, a potent tumor fighting substance.

Figlin: This is early clinical trials, but what we've shown is one, you can administer cytokines inside the prostate gland safely. Nobody even believed that you could do that. Secondly, we've been able to demonstrate that in fact, an immune reaction does occur.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.