Trials for Cancer Vaccine

Trials for Cancer Vaccine Represent Hope for Meso Patients

The trials for a new immunotherapy cancer vaccine are about to move into the exciting stage where “real” patients are now part of the mix, report scientists and doctors at Stanford University.

It’s a step that has mesothelioma patients – and others with solid tumors – picturing a hopeful future.

According to a recent press release by the university, this new treatment is unlike popular immunotherapy drugs Opdivo and Keytruda in that it is not customized to attack a particular type of cancer cell.

Instead, it relies on a two-part system that “teaches” immune system T-cells what kind of cells to attack. This happens by injecting the vaccine directly into the tumor.

This “in situ” (at the site) vaccination includes two separate agents, both of which are also being tested separately, the researchers point out.
“Immunoenhancing agents are injected locally into one site of tumor, thereby triggering a T cell immune response locally that then attacks cancer throughout the body.,” explains Ronald Levy, MD, who is the senior author of an article on the study, recently published in Science Translational Findings.

Levy notes that when trials for the vaccine included work with mice that had been given two of the same kind of tumor, the tumor that wasn’t injected with the vaccine responded the same as the one that did.

That was exactly the result for which they were hoping, he points out.

In tests on 90 mice. 87 of them were cured completed and two of the remaining three improved after a second injection, the study results show.

Researchers are hoping for similar results in the human trials.

For mesothelioma patients and others with solid tumors, Levy envisions using the vaccine prior to surgery in order to prevent more tumors from forming after the procedure.

Currently, the clinical trial is open to patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but Levy suggests that any cancer patient with an injectable tumor site could eventually be a candidate for the vaccine.

That would encompass many patients that have pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma. The author also notes that he hopes a second trial will happen later this year, which could include those with other types of cancer, including mesothelioma.

Source: Brandt, Michelle et al, “In pre-clinical study, Stanford researchers use cancer “vaccine” to eliminate tumors”, February 13, 2018, Scope, Stanford Medicine