Personalised leukaemia vaccine shows promise in new trial

pharmafile | December 12, 2016 | News story | Sales and Marketing leukaemia 

A personalised cancer vaccine has proven to have significant efficacy in the treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in collaboration with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have found.

In the trial which examined 17 participants treated with personalised vaccines, over 70% remained in remission for an average of four years, a major find compared to conventional chemotherapy, where relapse and eventual death is common. After treatment, patients displayed a higher number of leukaemia-specific T Cells, meaning their immune systems could potentially help protect from the illness long-term, as co-author Donald W. Kufe explained:

“The development of this personalised vaccine by our team was based on the premise that effective treatment of established cancers would require the induction of immunity against multiple antigens, including neoantigens, specifically expressed by the patient’s own cancer cells.”

Lead author Jacalyn Rosenblatt, co-director of the Cancer Vaccine Program at the BIDMC Cancer Center and associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School added: “With the vaccine, we use the immune system to target the whole tumour including cells that may be resistant to chemotherapy. We were really excited to see that the vaccine generated a broad and durable immune response without significant side effects.”

There is hope this promising research will now lead to expanded applications with other types of cancer, beginning with multiple myeloma with a national study conducted by 15 cancer centres.

Matt Fellows

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