Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

First steps towards a vaccine for pancreatic cancer

22.09.2003


Research carried out in the United States has raised the hope that one day there could be a vaccine against pancreatic cancer – one of the most difficult cancers to treat successfully.



Dr Robert Maki told ECCO12 – The European Cancer Conference - today (Monday 22 September) that preliminary work with a cancer vaccine created from a heat-shock protein1 taken from the patient’s own tumour had resulted in one patient out of the ten vaccinated still alive and without disease after five years, and two more alive and without disease after more than two years. The typical survival after surgery for pancreas cancer is 14-15 months.

However, Dr Maki warned that patients should not get excited about the results of this research as it was too early to tell whether it would be possible to create a vaccine that could be used on all pancreatic cancer patients, and the patients involved in the trial had been carefully selected and might have been ones that would have done well anyway.


Dr Maki, an assistant member in the division of GI oncology in the department of medicine, and co-director of the sarcoma programme at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, USA, told delegates that he and his colleagues had run a phase I trial on 10 pancreatic patients using a vaccine based on a heat-shock protein called HSPPC-96 taken from the tumour of each patient (i.e. autologous).

Initial problems in creating the vaccine meant that the study was delayed half way through the study to improve the vaccine-making process. Dr Maki said: “The problem is that the pancreas makes digestive enzymes that destroy proteins . . . in other words, the pancreatic tumour cells themselves can destroy the vaccine you are trying to make, if you do not handle the tumour tissue carefully and quickly. With improvement in the vaccine purification process, most patients with the primary pancreatic cancer enrolled on the study were able to receive vaccinations.”

First, surgeons operated to remove completely the primary tumour, and then the patients were vaccinated within eight weeks of surgery. As far as doctors could tell, the patients were disease-free at the time of their vaccinations. None of the patients suffered side effects that limited the dose of the vaccine, and none had chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Dr Maki said: “Tests on the patients showed that at least some people we examined made a response against the vaccine and therefore, hopefully, against the cancer. However, we will only get a better picture of the efficacy of this vaccine when we have the clinical results from a larger study.” The overall survival for the 10 patients was two and a half years, in comparison to 14.3 months, the historical average.

“Over 95% of people with pancreatic cancer die, typically within two years of diagnosis, and mortality is still about 90% even for those who have complete removal of their pancreatic cancer. So the finding of even a few patients surviving two years or more is promising regarding the usefulness of this vaccine after removal of the cancer. However, and this is a big however, we may be biased in who we selected for the study. Only people who could have an operation were eligible; we screened out people who had evidence of spread of tumor before they entered the study. Perhaps, just by chance, we got a few people who were destined to do well. So enthusiasm about any phase II study has to be tempered by the fact that you need a proper randomized study to determine the vaccine’s usefulness,” he said.

HSPPC-96 has been shown to have quite a dramatic effect in some patients with metastatic melanoma and so Dr Maki hopes that trials could be run to further test its efficacy against pancreatic cancer as well. In the meantime, until a larger study has been run, it will not be known for certain whether this vaccine has real potential against pancreatic cancer. Trials are also underway to test the vaccine in the treatment of kidney cancer.

The story of this vaccine is a good example of how earlier discoveries at the lab bench can eventually translate into potential new therapies for patients. Dr Maki’s PhD was based on cloning and purifying the human HSPCC-96 molecule. “It is nice to see that well over 10 years after my PhD, this interesting molecule is undergoing examination in the clinic. It is gratifying to see the studies move from the bench to patients, where I hope some benefit will be seen. Similarly, this same technique could be used in preparing vaccines against infectious diseases – another very large area of potential use for these vaccines.”

Mary Rice | alfa
Further information:
http://www.fecs.be/conferences/ecco12/media_updates.shtml

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>