Pancreatic Cancer Vaccine Shows Promise
The vaccine proved safe, with redness and itchiness of the skin at the site of the vaccine injection being the only significant side effects. Individuals who received the highest doses of the vaccine responded with activation of several parts of their immune systems. "Three [of these] patients [who] ... were expected to [have their cancer] recur within 6-12 months from diagnosis are between 3 and 3.5 years from diagnosis" and still disease free, says Jaffee.
"New drugs are being developed for this deadly disease," says Jaffee. "The only way to truly know whether these new drugs including this vaccine will help patients in the future is to refer patients for ongoing studies. ... I would like to encourage my colleagues and [individuals with pancreatic cancer] to enroll ... in our future studies so that we can adequately assess the efficacy of this therapy. ... This was an early study. We need to continue testing the drug for safety and efficacy. The only way to do this is to enroll patients in studies."
"Not everyone would be a candidate for this, but it's important for people with pancreatic cancer to know that there are groups that are trying novel things," says Hollingsworth. "If they are interested in tumor vaccines, ... this would be a reasonable state-of-the-art procedure that would be available [within the context of a clinical trial] if they are eligible for it."
This research received funding from the National Cancer Institute.