PHILADELPHIA, July 3, 2007-- Ongoing therapeutic cancer vaccine
trials have yet to show evidence of vaccines spurring a
patient’s immune system to shrink tumors -- yet patients who
receive these vaccines in trials tend to live longer and respond
better to subsequent treatment. In the July 1 issue of Clinical
Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer
Research, a team of National Cancer Institute researchers asks a
fundamental question: are we looking at cancer vaccine trials the
“Cancer Vaccines: Moving Beyond Current
Paradigms,” Jeffrey Schlom, et. al., Clinical Cancer
Research, July 1, 2007, Volume 13, No. 13, pages
In a review of five prostate cancer vaccine trials, NCI researchers
offer evidence that patients who receive vaccines may respond
better to subsequent chemotherapy or hormone treatment. The
specific results – or endpoints – of these clinical
trials, however, were not the long term survival of patients, but
rather the degree to which the vaccine caused tumors to shrink.
According to the researchers, since they didn’t achieve their
primary endpoints, these vaccines may be abandoned as dead-ends,
despite their real therapeutic value in terms of prolonging patient
“Clinical data are providing evidence that patients are
living longer following vaccination, despite the fact that trials
do not show the vaccines can induce the immune system into
shrinking tumors,” said Jeffrey Schlom, Ph.D., chief of the
Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology at the National Cancer
Institute. “The data suggests that the scientific community
and regulatory committees ought to rethink the design of clinical
vaccine trials and our current approach to measuring the
effectiveness of a cancer vaccine.”
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