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Alphavirus-based vaccine may slow some cancers
Date:8/2/2010

racted to dendritic cells, cells that stimulate the production of large numbers of T cells and antibodies," says Morse. "Essentially, we were hoping that once infected, the dendritic cells would activate T cells and antibodies to go after anything that had the tumor antigen CEA on it - in this case, the quickly growing cancer cells."

Participants received up to four injections plus booster shots of the vaccine over a period of three months. At the end of the study, two patients with no evidence of disease remained in remission; two patients were able to maintain stable disease, and one patient with pancreatic cancer saw a lesion in his liver disappear. The other patients in the trial did not respond to the therapy.

"Remember, these were patients with very advanced disease that nothing else had been able to stop," says Morse, a member of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center and a specialist in vaccine design. "We believe that in this small number of patients, the vaccine was able to stimulate the body's defense system to destroy significant numbers of cancer cells despite the presence of an army of neutralizing antibodies and regulatory T cells."

Morse says those who seemed to benefit the most were those who had the smallest amount of tumor. Because of this, he says his team is planning future trials that will test the vaccine in people with cancers that have been removed, but who are high risk of recurrence. Other trials will couple the vaccine with additional immune system stimulants such as interleukin-12 that may make the vaccine more powerful.


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Contact: Michelle Gailiun
michelle.gailiun@duke.edu
919-660-1306
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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