Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cancer Vaccine trials begin at Roswell in Buffalo

Can a vaccine treat cancer?

That’s the question behind new clinical tests, soon to begin at Buffalo’s Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Researchers will draw healthy cells from each study participant, attach a specialized protein in a sterile lab environment and then inject the mixture, now known as a dendritic cell vaccine, back into the body.

“You can see that these cells now come back. They have memory. They’re able to remember that cancer cells are bad. They need to be destroyed. They need to be killed,” says Kunle Odunsi, chair of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology.

About 20 cancer patients will participate in the FDA-approved Phase I trials over the next few years, which will primarily look for safety issues. If those tests pass muster with the FDA, then it’s on to Phase II, which will look at how effectively the medicine achieves what it sets out to do. In this case, that’s cure cancer.

“Of course the hope is a complete cure. But right now we’re looking at safety and efficacy is,” says Chris Choi, director of Roswell’s Therapeutic Cell Production Facility. “We’re not saying that this is the end all. This is just one road for us.”

What an exciting step forward, and I cannot wait to watch the results!

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