What are cancer vaccines?
I remember seeing a comment by a NET Specialist on twitter saying, “We need vaccines”. This was in response to a tweet from another NET Specialist reporting dismal data from an immunotherapy drug for Neuroendocrine Carcinomas. In 2020/2021, the word vaccine has been used a lot, but this specialist was not inferring anti-viral treatment, he was talking about “cancer vaccines”, an emerging discipline in science where vaccines act as an immunostimulant to treat cancer. This prompted me to look around and found this trial which may be of interest to you. However, before anyone gets too excited, this is very early days in the study of SurVaxM in Neuroendocrine Cancer. The vaccine is also being trialed in in Malignant Glioma/gliomablastoma (brain tumours) and Multiple Myeloma (blood cancer).
What is SurVaxM?
SurVaxM is a first-of-its-kind, patented peptide mimic immunotherapeutic vaccine (immunotherapy) that targets survivin, a cell-survival protein present in 95 percent of glioblastomas and many other cancers. It is engineered to recognize survivin-expressing cancer cells as foreign and stimulate patients’ own immune response to control tumor growth and recurrence. While vaccines are typically thought of as ways to prevent diseases, vaccines can also be used in a therapeutic mode as an immunostimulant (e.g., to treat cancer). SurVaxM is delivered through simple subcutaneous injection. MimiVax is leading on this. It’s a privately held, clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of immunotherapeutic vaccines and targeted therapies for the treatment of cancer. Their proprietary product portfolio is based on technology licensed from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center that targets survivin, a cell-survival protein that is present in most cancers and rarely detectable in normal tissue. Their therapies are designed to stimulate immune responses to control tumor growth and recurrence. MimiVax has an exclusive license to globally commercialize SurVaxM, as well as an extensive worldwide patent portfolio for SurVaxM and other products in development.
What is this trial?
This phase I trial studies the side effects of survivin long peptide vaccine and how it works with the immune system in treating patients with neuroendocrine tumors that have spread to other parts of the body (metastatic). Tumor cells make proteins that are not usually produced by normal cells. The body sees these proteins as not belonging and sends white blood cells called T cells to attack the tumor cells that contain these proteins. By vaccinating with small pieces of these proteins called peptides, the immune system can be made to kill tumor cells. Giving survivin long peptide vaccine to patients who have survivin expression in their tumors may create an immune response in the blood that is directed against neuroendocrine tumors. Also, worth nothing this is a very small trial (estimated 10 patients) and as it’s been running for 2 years, is likely to be filled (…..however, worth checking if interested). See link to the clinical trial document here.
Always check the inclusion and exclusion criteria on any clinical trial. It’s important to note these 3 criteria (but there are many other inclusion and exclusion criteria to look at)
- Pathologically confirmed diagnosis of neuroendocrine tumor of gastrointestinal, pancreatic or lung origin.
- Previous treatment with somatostatin analogues and documented progression within last 6 months on 2 successive computed tomography (CT) scans, at least 4 weeks apart, as defined by RECIST v1.1 while on somatostatin analogue.
- Availability of adequate tissue from previous biopsy of neuroendocrine tumor to test for survivin expression by tumor cells using immunohistochemistry.
Worth noting this trial is in collaboration with Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (led by Dr Renuka Iyer), the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) and NET Research Foundation.
Also check out an excellent summary of the trial including a patient story and a video clip from Dr Iyer over on NET Research Foundation – click here
Resource links here:
Minivax Website: Click here
Clinical Trials Document: Click here
NET Research Foundation coverage: Click here
Roswell Park Trial page: Click here
General Clinical Trials Disclaimer
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided in the clinical trials document. It’s very important to check the trial inclusion and exclusion criteria before making any contact. If you need questions, the articles here is very useful Questions to Ask About Clinical Trials | Cancer.Net
The inclusion of any trial within this blog should not be taken as a recommendation by Ronny Allan.
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