Personalized pancreatic cancer vaccine shows promise in early trial

A small, phase 1 study found promising results for a pancreatic cancer vaccine.

The study, published May 10 in Nature, involved 16 patients with pancreatic cancer. Researchers at New York City-based Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center extracted patients' tumors and shipped samples to the vaccine manufacturer in Germany. Scientists then developed personalized vaccines based on the genetic makeup of certain proteins in the samples. Created in nine weeks, the vaccines were then shipped and administered to patients. 

Half of participants had an immune response and showed no signs of relapse after an 18-month follow-up period. For those without a response to the vaccine, the cancer tended to return around 13 months after surgery.

Although the study is limited, experts applauded the accomplishment.

"This is the first demonstrable success — and I will call it a success, despite the preliminary nature of the study — of an mRNA vaccine in pancreatic cancer," Anirban Maitra, MD, a specialist in the disease at Houston-based University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center who was not involved in the study, told The New York Times in a May 10 report. "By that standard, it's a milestone."

Since the beginning of the study, the vaccine manufacturer BioNTech has shortened the process to less than six weeks and intends to make cancer vaccines in four weeks, according to the Times. The company has also dropped the price of the vaccine from roughly $350,000 to $100,000 due to automation in parts of the production.

Copyright © 2023 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars