The first human trials of a new vaccine that triggers the immune system to target and destroy cancer cancer cells has been successful, with three of the seven patients involved in the tests now cancer free.
The Daily Mail is reporting that the vaccine, called ImMucin, is being developed by the drug maker Vaxil Biotherapeutics and Tel Aviv University. The trial was conducted at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem and consisted of ten patients with myeloma, a blood cancer. Seven of the ten patients who received the drug have significantly greater immunity against cancer cells and three of the patients are now free of the condition.
“ImMucin generated a robust and specific immune response in all patients which was observed after only 2-4 doses of the vaccine out of a maximum of 12 doses,” said Vaxil Biotherapeutics in a statement. “In some of the patients, preliminary signs of clinical efficacy were observed.”
None of the patients reported suffering side-effects apart from minor irritation.
ImMucin is known as a therapeutic vaccine, meaning that it is given to patients to help them fight cancer once they are diagnosed with the condition rather than used to prevent it as would be the case with a prophylactic vaccine. Because the vaccine targets a molecule that is present in 90 percent of all cancers, researchers believe it could be used to treat breast, prostate, pancreatic, bowel and ovarian cancers.
Large-scale human trials will have to be conducted before the drug is determined to be safe and ready for use in hospitals. If all goes well, the drug could be on the market within six to eight years.
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