Vaccine shows promising results for early-stage breast cancer patients

Deregulation and inhibition of the immune system contributes to cancer development. Many therapeutic strategies aim to re-stimulate the immune system to recognize cancer cells and target them for destruction. Researchers from Moffitt Cancer Center report that a dendritic cell vaccine that targets the HER2 protein on breast cancer cells is safe and effectively stimulates the immune system leading to regression of early-stage breast cancer.

The HER2 protein is overexpressed in 20-25% of all breast cancer tumors and is associated with aggressive disease and poor prognosis. Researchers have previously shown that immune cells are less able to recognize and target cancer cells that express HER2 as breast cancer progresses into a more advanced and invasive stage. This suggests that strategies that can restimulate the immune system to recognize and target HER2 early during cancer development may be effective treatment options.

The researchers previously developed a vaccine that helps the immune system recognize the HER2 protein on breast cancer cells. Their approach involves creating the vaccine from immune cells called dendritic cells that are harvested from each individual patient to create a personalized vaccine.

In order to determine if the HER2-dendritic cell vaccine is safe and effective, the researchers performed a clinical trial in 54 women who have HER2-expressing early-stage breast cancer. The dendritic cell vaccines were prepared by isolating dendritic cells from each patients' blood and exposing them to fragments of the HER2 protein. Patients were injected with a dose of their personal dendritic cell vaccine once a week for 6 weeks into either a lymph node, the breast tumor, or into both sites.

The researchers report that the dendritic cell vaccines were well-tolerated and patients only experienced low-grade toxicities. The most common adverse events were fatigue, injection site reactions, and chills. They also show that the vaccine was able to stimulate an immune response in the majority of the patients. Approximately 80% of evaluable patients had a detectable immune response in their peripheral blood and/or in their sentinel lymph node wherein their cancer is most likely to spread to first. Importantly, the immune responses among the patients were similar, regardless of the route of vaccine administration.

The Moffitt researchers assessed the effectiveness of the vaccine by determining the percentage of patients who had detectable disease within surgical specimens after resection. The absence of disease is termed a pathological complete response (pCR). They report that 13 patients achieved a pCR and patients who had early non-invasive disease called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) achieved a higher rate of pCR than patients who had early-stage invasive disease. Interestingly, patients who achieved a pCR had a higher immune response within their local sentinel lymph nodes.

"These results suggest that vaccines are more effective in DCIS, thereby warranting further evaluation in DCIS or other minimal disease settings, and the local regional sentinel lymph node may serve as a more meaningful immunologic endpoint," said Brian J. Czerniecki, MD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Breast Oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center.

The study was supported by funds received from R01-CA096997, P30-CA016520, Pennies-in-Action®, and the Henle Foundation.

Lowenfeld L, Mick R, Datta J, Xu S, Fitzpatrick E, Fisher CS, Fox KR, DeMichele A, Zhang P, Weinstein S, Roses RE, Czerniecki BJ.
Dendritic Cell Vaccination Enhances Immune Responses and Induces Regression of HER2pos DCIS Independent of Route: Results of Randomized Selection Design Trial.
Clin Cancer Res. 2016 Dec 13. pii: clincanres.1924.2016. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-16-1924

Most Popular Now

Top 20 World Pharma News of 2016

Look back at the most prominent moments from the year 2016. We are proud to announce the 20 most popular World Pharma News from 2016, the most commonly viewed news accord...

Read more

New precision medicine tool helps optimize cancer …

Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers have created a computational tool that can rapidly predict which genes are implicated in an individual's cancer and ...

Read more

Roche's emicizumab for haemophilia A meets primary…

Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) today announced that the primary endpoint has been met for the phase III HAVEN 1 study evaluating emicizumab prophylaxis in people 12 y...

Read more

Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim confirm Closing of…

Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim confirmed that the strategic transaction signed in June 2016, which consists of an exchange of Sanofi's animal health business (Merial) an...

Read more

Diabetes, heart disease, and back pain dominate US…

Just 20 conditions make up more than half of all spending on health care in the United States, according to a new comprehensive financial analysis that examines spending ...

Read more

FDA approves first drug for spinal muscular atroph…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Spinraza (nusinersen), the first drug approved to treat children and adults with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a rare ...

Read more

Novartis invests in next generation therapies to r…

Novartis announced today a collaboration and option agreement with Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and its affiliate Akcea Therapeutics, Inc., to license two novel treatments...

Read more

Topical treatment activates immune system to clear…

A combination of two FDA-approved drugs - a topical chemotherapy and an immune-system-activating compound - was able to rapidly clear actinic keratosis lesions from patie...

Read more

Vaccine shows promising results for early-stage br…

Deregulation and inhibition of the immune system contributes to cancer development. Many therapeutic strategies aim to re-stimulate the immune system to recognize cancer ...

Read more

Bristol-Myers Squibb announces immunotherapy clini…

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) today announced a new clinical research collaboration with Janssen Biotech, Inc. to evaluate the combination of Bristol-Myers Squi...

Read more

Anti-aging therapies targeting senescent cells: Fa…

It's an exciting time to be an elderly mouse. Researchers believe that by removing senescent cells (cells with a persistent damage response), which naturally accumulate w...

Read more

Novo Nordisk and Glooko partner to develop digital…

Novo Nordisk and Glooko today announced that the two companies will work together to deliver jointly-developed and branded digital health solutions for people with diabet...

Read more

Pharmaceutical Companies

[ A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Z ]