Experimental Ovarian Cancer Vaccine Shows Promise
Researchers say one patient in long-term remission after novel treatment
The researchers added a further step for 11 patients who responded to the vaccine treatment but still had residual disease. They removed immune cells called T cells from patients' blood, stimulated and expanded the cells in the laboratory, and then reinjected them into the patients. Of the 11 patients, seven had stable disease and one had a complete response, the investigators found.
Both treatments were given in conjunction with bevacizumab, a drug that controls blood vessel growth.
Side effects were mild, Kandalaft said. As for cost, she believes that it will be cheaper than some existing cancer drugs that cost $75,000 to $100,000 for a regimen.
The next step is to continue research into the treatment, she added.
A second study being presented at the meeting focused on an experimental drug to treat women whose ovarian cancer has developed resistance to platinum-based chemotherapy. The cancer inevitably gets worse in patients when chemotherapy no longer works.
The drug, being developed by the Genentech pharmaceutical company, is designed to deliver a kind of poison to cancer cells without being too toxic to the patient.
Researchers led by Dr. Joyce Liu, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston, found that five patients out of 44 responded at least partially to the treatment. However, many who took the treatment suffered from several types of side effects.
A researcher who was not involved in the studies said the treatments all appear promising, although preliminary, and show how medicine is moving toward alternatives to chemotherapy.
"This is where we have to start. This is the future," said Dr. Linda Duska, a gynecologist at the University of Virginia.