A vaccine might be able to trigger and boost the immune system and increase the survival rates of patients, a study finds
A personalized cancer vaccine is safe and may lengthen the lives of ovarian cancer patients, a small clinical trial found, CNN reports.
The research showed "significantly higher" overall survival at two years among patients who received the vaccine, compared with patients who did not, show results, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
A vaccine might be able to trigger and boost the immune system and increase the survival rates of patients, said Dr. Lana Kandalaft, senior author of the new study and an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.
Kandalaft and her colleagues created personalized vaccines for 25 patients diagnosed with advanced recurrent ovarian cancer. The women had recurrent advanced epithelial ovarian cancer.
The scientists made each unique vaccine using a patient's tumor (stored and preserved before surgery) and dendritic cells from her blood.
For the study, some patients received the personalized vaccine alone, and others received it in combination with either one or two chemo drugs.
The patients who received the vaccine mounted an immune response against their own tumors," Kandalaft said in a statement. She described the immune response as "an increased number of T cells which were specific to the tumor and were able to kill tumors."
Each of the 25 patients received, on average, 16 vaccine shots over the course of the study and none experienced severe side effects from the vaccine.
Overall two-year survival was highest among responsive study patients who received the vaccine and two chemo drugs: Seventy-eight percent of vaccinated patients who also received the chemo drugs survived two years, compared with just 44% of patients who received the drugs but no vaccine.