Researchers have demonstrated the safety of a potential vaccine against mesothelioma, a rare cancer associated primarily with asbestos exposure. The vaccine, which infuses uses a patient's own dendritic cells (DC) with antigen from the patient's tumor, was able to induce a T-cell response against mesothelioma tumors.
"[This] is the first human study on DC-based immunotherapy in patients with mesothelioma," wrote Joachim G Aerts M.D., Ph.D., a pulmonary physician at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands.
The findings have been published online ahead of print publication in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
The U.S. and other developed countries have prohibited the use of asbestos for decades, but the time between asbestos exposure and diagnosis of mesothelioma can up to 50 years. The incidence of mesothelioma, therefore, is still on the rise and expected to continue to increase until 2020. Once diagnosed, mesothelioma has a median survival time of 12 months. The standard chemotherapeutic treatment only improves survival time by about three months.
The anticipated increase in the incidence of mesothelioma, together with the paucity of treatment options, has spurred considerable interest in the development of new therapies. Immunotherapy, which uses the body's own immune system to target and destroy cancer cells, has been shown to have some promise.
"The possibility to harness the potency and specificity of the immune system underlies the growing interest in cancer immunotherapy," said Dr. Aerts. "One such approach uses the patient's own DC to present tumor-associated antigens and thereby generate tumor-specific immunity."
Building upon their previous research which demonstrated that DC vaccinations induced anti-tumor immunity and conferred a survival benefit in mice, Dr. Aerts and colleagues sought to test the clinical relevance of their f
|Contact: Keely Savoie|
American Thoracic Society