A REVOLUTIONARY vaccine that could cancer-proof patients after they finish their regular oncology treatment will be trialled in Melbourne from next year.
The trial, which would involve three jabs after surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy, got the green light amid a $20 million boost to cancer research.
The vaccine has been created by scientists from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and works by boosting patients’ own immune systems.
It will be trialled on patients with colorectal cancer — Australia’s second-biggest cancer killer — as well as a rarer form of the disease called adenoid cystic carcinoma.
Lead researcher Prof Robert Ramsay said human trials would begin in 2017, after preclinical testing achieved cure rates of up to 50 per cent.
“It is hoped vaccine-based treatments that initiate a specific immune response, or reawakens a latent one, will help more patients to remain cancer free,” he said.
Prof Ramsay said the vaccine would be given after conventional treatments were completed and before that stressful “window of time” when patients are left waiting to see if their cancer returns.
The vaccine would be followed by another immune system-boosting treatment that attacks the Myb protein. Myb is a known driver of both cancers targeted by this trial.
Prof Ramsay’s trial is one of 29 research projects sharing in $19.6 million from the state government-funded Victorian Cancer Agency.
Health Minister Jill Hennessey will announce the funding, with other recipients including the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and the Melbourne, Monash and Swinburne universities.
“Investment in cancer research means advances in treatments and a better chance of survival for patients, and one day finding a cure,” Ms Hennessey said.
The Victorian Cancer Agency has invested about $150 million into translational cancer research — aimed at fast-tracking laboratory research into clinical treatments — since it was formed a decade ago.
Story Source: Herald Sun