Personalized Vaccine helps patients against Cancer, vaccine was tested in a preliminary clinical trial and used with standard chemotherapy and an immune-boosting agent.
In early research that involved assembling the body’s own immune system, a personalized vaccine helped patients with ovarian cancer mount a stronger defense against their tumors than standard therapy and substantially improved their survival rate.
The experimental therapy, described recently in the journal Science Translational Medicine, weaves together a number of approaches that are collectively driving innovations in cancer treatment.
Because the treatment uses the patient’s immune cells as a sort of T-cell training force, it is an immunotherapy. Because it uses the distinctive proteins on a patient’s own tumor as homing beacons. And because a patient’s cells are harvested and returned to her, it is personalized therapy.
Rather than round up a patient’s T cells and re-engineer them in a lab to find cancer, this treatment results a class of immune “helpers” called dendritic cells. Using ground-up cells from a patient’s tumor, researchers trained the dendritic cells to recognize and attack that specific malignancy.
After reintroducing fortified cells into the patient, they passed on their training to the immune system’s army of killer T cells and sent them into battle.
Patients with ovarian cancer who got injections of the personalized vaccine with the medications cyclophosphamide and bevacizumab eight showed a strong immune response.
According to the study and research subjects, the vaccine has been “so safe it’s unbelievable,” said study leader Janos L. Tanyi, a gynecologist at the University of Pennsylvania. Scientists have to find a way to make larger supplies of vaccine with a limited supply of tumor cells, Tanyi said.