Two early stage trials have been studying the effects of personalized cancer vaccines. Such an option has been vehiculated for some time. However, scientists were unsure whether they would be safe or effective.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and also the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard researchers conducted the new studies. These were published online the journal Nature.
Personalized Cancer Vaccines to Become A Common Practice?
The scientists point out that most cancer therapies are “one-size-fits-all” model treatments. So they decided to test the efficiency of a treatment specifically targeting the respective agent.
Their personalized cancer vaccines target specific “neoantigens” on the tumor cells. The early stage clinical trials showed them to be capable of stimulating a safe, potent, and also highly specific immune response against tumors in patients with melanoma.
“We’ve long recognized in cancer that every patient’s tumor is different. With recent advances in technology, it’s now becoming possible to create a therapy that’s suited to target an individual’s tumor,” state the researchers.
In total, the two studies involved 19 patients with skin cancer that took part in Phase I clinical trials. The first research included six patients that were only treated with surgery for their melanoma. Researchers sequenced DNA from samples from their tumors.
Then, they created a personalized vaccine which contained neoantigens for the predicted mutations. Four of the six patients presented no recurrence of the cancer even after 25 months.
The second study involved 13 people with melanoma and tested a personalized vaccine based on RNA. These used a similar method in identifying the tumor mutation. After using the vaccines, all of the patients presented a boosted immunity against their tumor specific antigens. Eight among them had no recurrence of the disease even 23 months after the treatment.
Both of the personalized vaccines were deemed both safe and efficient for use. Now, they will be further tested and analyzed. They will have to be proven effective by Phase II Clinical trials as well.
The studies returned “tantalizing” results and established the potential use, sometime in the future, of personalized cancer vaccines.
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