Early trials of “custom cancer vaccines” appeared to be “safe and effective” at attacking and destroying tumors, according to a report.
“In two early clinical trials involving 19 patients with skin cancer, personalized vaccines appeared safe and effective at spurring immune responses to attack and destroy tumors,” reported Ars Technica on Thursday. “The vaccines worked by coaching killer immune cells—T cells—to destroy tumors by seeking out uniquely mutated proteins on each patient’s one-of-a-kind cancer cells, while leaving healthy cells unharmed.”
“The results of the two trials, both published this week in Nature, follow years of basic research and animal studies on this strategy. Researchers are optimistic, but there are big hurdles ahead of these small trials, including bigger trials with more patients and controls,” they continued. “If those go well, researchers will likely have to figure out how to streamline creating vaccines for individual patients, which is currently tedious and expensive.”
Researchers are now set to move on to bigger and more controlled trials, according to Ars Technica, and prove the “safety and efficiency” of the vaccines, as well as working out a way to make the development “faster and affordable.”
“The two studies confirm the potential of this type of approach,” proclaimed Cancer Immunologist at Leiden University Medical Centre, Cornelis Melief. “Controlled, randomized phase II clinical trials with more participants are now needed to establish the efficacy of these vaccines in patients with any type of cancer.”
“Although the numbers of people who were treated in these studies were small, both studies indicated potential benefits,” he concluded.