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Vaccine Shows Convincing Results on Early Stage Cancer


According to recently published work in journal Nature Medicine, an experimental vaccine has shown promising results in removing cancer cells in clinical trials. A vaccine is undergoing clinical testing at Mayo Clinic and had reportedly removed cancer cells in a breast cancer patient. The vaccine is getting used for patients who are already suffering from cancer, it causes patients’ immune system to fight with the disease and it’s not preventive like a flu shot.

Lee Mercker became the first patient to get treatment under clinical trial, she was diagnosed with early-stage of breast cancer in March. She had “DCIS stage zero” breast cancer, which means cancer cells were not yet spread. She was left with three options – mastectomy, where breasts are removed, a lumpectomy was cancer cells are removed or lastly she could participate in a clinical trial for life-saving cancer vaccine which will remove cancer cells and avert them from coming back.

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First, clinical trial was conducted at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital on 11 lymphoma patients and results were successful and warranty a second clinical trial, which would be conducted in March.

The treatment “has broad implications for multiple types of cancer,” said lead author, Dr. Joshua Brody, director of the lymphoma immunotherapy program. “This method could also increase the success of other immunotherapies such as checkpoint blockade.”

The vaccine was created directly in the tumor, where researchers injected one tumor with a stimulant to recruit immune cells, these activated immune cells then travel the complete body and kill tumors where ever they find them.

“It’s really promising, and the fact you get not only responses in treated areas, but areas outside the field [of treatment with radiation] is really significant,” said Dr. Silvia Formenti, chairwoman of radiation oncology at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian, who was not involved in the study and is working on a similar treatment.

Out of 11 patients, promising effects were observed in only three patients, the vaccine needs to be tested on a large base before even going with the Food and Drug Administration for review

“It’s definitely proof of concept, but larger studies are definitely needed and additional strategies to try to get more than three out of 11 patients to respond,” said Jacobsen, who is also developing a lymphoma vaccine, though with a slightly different approach.

Research was funded by The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, the Cancer Research Institute and Merck, Celldex and Oncovir provided the materials for the clinical trial and the lab work.