Vaccine for Ovarian Cancer Shows Promising Results in Pilot Trial

(April 17, 2018) Science Translational Medicine recently published a University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine/University of Lausanne, Switzerland study on using a patient’s immune system to fight their cancer. In this pilot trial, 25 patients with advanced epithelial recurrent ovarian cancer were either given the vaccine alone, with the chemotherapy drug bevacizumab, or a combination of two chemotherapy drugs without the vaccine.

The tumor cells and the patients’ cells, specifically dendritic cells, were introduced in a laboratory setting and injected back into the patient an average of 16 times. The Dendritic cells play a vital role in the patient’s immune response because they carry pieces of a foreign body back to the lymph nodes, which then create T cells to attack the foreign body. The goal of the vaccine is to get these cells, and therefore this process, to recognize a tumor and have the immune system respond accordingly. The hope is that, because the vaccine contains cells from a specific tumor, the attack will be that much more personalized and effective.

Of the 25 patients who participated in the study, half of them showed an increase in the number of T cells reactive to a tumor, and even more promising, several of them produced T-cells specifically reactive to their tumor. For the patients that responded to the vaccine, “the 2 year overall survival rate…was 100 percent, whereas the rate for non-responders was just 25 percent, said lead author Janos Tanyi, MD.

Although the study does show promising results, researchers pointed out that this is a pilot study and there is a lot of room for improvement. You can read more via MedicalExpress.