Advanced Cancer Vaccine enters Phase 1 Trials

In the United Kingdom, a group of researchers have begun trial testing on a new vaccine that will help the human immune system fight advanced cancer. They believe it will help fight cancers that are no longer responding to standard therapy. They are expecting an initial ten participants in the study until other English research sites open this year.

The vaccine is composed of small molecules called hTERT peptides that work by mimicking the immune system response to viral and bacterial infections. It will be administered once every three weeks via a chemotherapy tablet. Some of the participants will also receive an anti-inflammatory drug. The vaccine will then be assessed for benefits and side effects.

The researchers say that the immune system that has advanced cancer is suppressed and the goal of the vaccine is to reactivate the system by introducing small pieces of a key cancer protein. The first two patients have already taken the vaccine and this trial will run for 18-24 months. It calls for two parts, but the second part will only be done if at least one of the two patients responds to the first part.

A stage four cervical cancer patient is one of the people who has been administered the vaccine, and she said her experience has been positive thus far. She said, “When I was told that I may be eligible for this trial, I was delighted. When I read the leaflet about the VAPER trial it struck me that it seemed a bit of breakthrough and that if it worked, it could be a revolution in the treatment of cancer. To be part of the trial has changed my life for the better. It’s been a very positive experience and really interesting. I feel honored to be involved. … I had my first injection on Tuesday 9th February and have another seven visits to complete the treatment. They did say there may be flu-like symptoms but I haven’t noticed anything yet. The way I have been cared for and treated by the clinical trial staff is exceptional.”

This trial is supported by research done in other parts of Europe and the United States as well. The researchers believe that this will open new doors for cancer patients and lead to better alternative treatments. They also stress that this would not be possible without the government’s continued investment in the life sciences sector.