The major challenge these days lies in finding an effective treatment against all types of cancers. Developing potential vaccinations is an important effort in this regard where many scientists are making their marks. A new vaccine has recently been developed which is of a great advantage to patients with metastatic HER2-positive cancers who had not received any HER2-targeted therapeutic before. 6 out of 11 cancerous patients depicted clinical benefit after receiving more than the lowest dose of the vaccine.
According to Jay A. Berzofsky, immunotherapy is by far most successful as it has lesser side effects than traditional chemotherapy and destroys cancer by rationalizing the exquisite specificity of the immune system. Here, an immune response is triggered by using a vaccine approach against HER2 that might be a cause of ovarian, breast, lung, gastroesophageal and colorectal cancers. The novel vaccine developed for HER2-overexpressing cancers has shown promising results paving new therapeutic paths.
Berzofsky and colleagues customize the vaccines for each patient by using immune cells isolated from their blood which is then modified in several ways and injected back to the patients intradermally. This vaccine has a huge potential of eliminating established and aggressive tumors in addition to lung metastases in mice. During the dose escalation portion of clinical trials, it was observed that the patients did not respond to 5 million dendritic cells per injection but about 54% patients responded to 10 million or 20 million dendritic cells per injection. The dose was safely increased to 40 million dendritic cells per injection which offered enhanced clinical benefit.
The researchers plan to combine the vaccine with checkpoint inhibitor therapy in future to increase the number of benefitting patients. The only limitation of the treatment is that it has no placebo control with a relatively small, phase I clinical trial. However, the additional trials will be satisfactorily promising.