cancer vaccine for lung cancer
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Cancer Immunotherapy Vaccine for Lung Cancer to Face Clinical Trial by the End of 2020

Vaccitech Oncology Limited (VOLT), in collaboration with Cancer Research UK, plans to bring a novel immunotherapeutic vaccine strategy to patients with lung cancer.

Vaccitech Ltd and Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research together developed a vaccine treatment that would stimulate the body’s own immune cells to attack the cancer cells.

The new treatment will introduce the cancer-associated antigens MAGE A3 and NY-ESO-1 to the dendritic cells, also known as the antigen-presenting cells, causing an immune response that produces cytotoxic T cells. The cytotoxic T cells will then target and kill the antigen-expressing cancer cells.

This is the first time a viral vaccine program is going to be used in the treatment of the most common type of lung cancer, the non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Similar vaccines for the treatment of last stage Prostate Cancer are under clinical trial.

The first clinical trial of the therapeutic vaccine, in combination with the current standard of care and first-line treatment for NSCLC, will be sponsored by Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development (CDD). The Phase I/IIa trial will examine if receiving the immunotherapeutic vaccine improves the effect

of chemotherapy and anti-PD-1 treatment.  The trial will also investigate the extent of the ability of the vaccine to stimulate a safe and effective anti-cancer immune response in NSCLC patients.

Cancer Research UK’s director of drug development, Dr. Nigel Blackburn, said: “This partnership with VOLT is an important step to help accelerate this promising immunotherapy and could help more people survive lung cancer, which remains very hard to treat.” This new approach of stimulating the immune system against the cancer cells using modified adenovirus could be a completely novel way to kill the cancer cells.

The previous clinical trials had shown the high specificity of experimental cancer vaccines and their ability to induce a robust immune response. These cancer vaccines against the MAGE A3 and NY-ESO-1 antigens could be a potential immunotherapeutic that could generate a persistent level of CD8+ T cells to kill the cancer cells.

Once the clinical trial is completed, VOLT will have the rights for commercialization and further clinical development of the cancer vaccine. If VOLT refuses to take up the responsibility, Cancer Research UK will be given the rights for the same.

The clinical trial will be performed on 80 NSCLC patients across multiple locations in the UK by the end of 2020 through the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) network.