Promising vaccine for pancreatic cancer

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Dr. Michael Choti, Chief Of Surgery, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center. A vaccine is showing a lot of promise in staving off the return of one of the deadliest forms of cancer. The vaccine provoked an immune response in half of the pancreatic cancer patients treated during a recent clinical trial, and patients showed no recurrence of their cancer during the course of the yearslong study. Although a small, early phase clinical trial, results from the study showed that using mRNA vaccine technology to deliver personalized treatment holds promise for patients with pancreatic cancer.

“It is very exciting. It’s a small study but, it really is very promising,” Choti said.

The patients within the study had their pancreatic cancer surgically removed. Cancerous tumors were surgically removed from the patients were studied and tested. A personalized vaccine was created for each patient and administered after surgical removal of the cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is considered one of the deadliest forms of cancer. This type of cancer is difficult to treat and can be immune to different therapies and treatments. Dr. Choti said that the vaccine likely treated microscopic remnants of the cancer left after surgery. The patients within the study also received chemotherapy in conjunction with the vaccine.

“In the majority of patients unfortunately, the cancer will come back. This is presumably because of microscopic cells in the body,” Choti said.

Choti said he was hopeful that this study could be replicated to create treatments for other types of cancer. If a vaccine can be developed for pancreatic cancer, which is difficult to treat then Choti has no doubt that this study can be a potential model to fight cancer in general.

“It will likely be a platform that probably, will have some role in a variety of forms of cancer,” Choti said.

Dr. Michael Choti, Chief of Surgery at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center

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