A clinical trial going on at the University of Arizona Health Sciences designed to study the safety and effectiveness of a personalized cancer vaccine will now expand its cohort after achieving good results.
The preliminary data of this vaccine was presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer recently.
What are personalized cancer vaccines?
Personalized cancer vaccines are an emerging treatment option for deadly cancer. This method uses a patient’s own cancer cells to develop a vaccine which can teach their immune system how to recognize and destroy their cancer.
According to the preliminary data, this vaccine which includes an immunotherapy drug Pembrolizumab was tested on 10 patient sufferings with head and neck cancer. Five of the 10 patients experienced a clinical response to the personalized cancer vaccine, and two patients had a complete response after the treatment (no detectable disease present).
That makes the response rate 50% which is notable when compared to the 15% response rate when the patients are treated with Pembrolizumab alone.
Dr Bauman, MD, MPH, deputy director of the University of Arizona Cancer Center, says the current study will now expand to 40 patients with head and neck cancer.
“The data are preliminary and the sample size is small, but it is promising,” Dr Bauman said. “A phase I trial is about safety first and foremost, and we now know this treatment is safe and tolerable. But, we also have a strong signal to point us to further study this in head and neck cancer. That is why we are excited to expand this trial.”
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