A new immunotherapy vaccine is showing promising results for mesothelioma after a 2nd phase clinical study. While there is still another clinical phase approaching, the results may mean that the new vaccination will become widely available to the public, for those who are diagnosed with mesothelioma.
The WT1 vaccine, named after Wilm’s Tumor 1 (WT1) antigen, is a new immunotherapy drug that’s being developed at the MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. WT1 is one of the new, innovative drugs that scientists hope can help mesothelioma patients across the world. The new drug is backed by the Switzerland drug development company, SELLAS Life Sciences Group.
How Does the WT1 Vaccine Help Mesothelioma Patients?
The vaccine works by attacking antigens (such as the WT1) that are harmful to the body. While the WT1 antigen usually isn’t present in adults, it surfaces in people who have cancer, and the vaccine aims to destroy it and improve the survival rate of cancer patients. According to the The National Cancer Institute (NCI), the new WT1 vaccine is one of the most promising measures for cancer immunotherapy.
Dr. Angelos M. Stergiou, the CEO of SELLAS Life Sciences Group, states that,
“By administering the cancer vaccine, SELLAS provides the immune system a picture of what the cancerous cells look like so that the immune system now recognizes them and kills them. It is also believed the immune cells can perform an ongoing surveillance, killing recurrent cancerous cells.”
Once the WT1 vaccine is administered, it starts attacking mesothelioma cancer cells, and helps fight relapses, which can ultimately improve the survival rates of mesothelioma patients.
WT1 Vaccination Research and Study Results
A total of 40 patients enrolled in the study, and no one was told what kind of medication they would receive. Nineteen of these patients received the WT1 vaccination while 21 others did not. Although the study was initially supposed to be much larger than 40 people, experts in the field reduced the number in case of severe side effects.
The 19 patients that received the vaccination went to survive around 11.5 more months without any complications or disease progression, and had an average survival rate of 39 months. Those who didn’t receive the vaccination. Those who didn’t receive the vaccination began experiencing disease progression and complications within 5 months of the study and had an overall survival rate of 18 months.
According to Dr. Stergiou,
“MPM (malignant pleural mesothelioma) is a highly debilitating and often fatal disease, and patients deserve new treatments that have the potential to address current needs. These results, pending their replication in Phase 3 studies, can offer hope for patients with MPM.”
When Will the WT1 Vaccine Be Available to All Mesothelioma Patients?
The next stage of the study is Phase III, which is slated to begin in 2016, in the United States and Europe. Scientists are hoping that the next results will help push the vaccine on the market as soon as possible so that other mesothelioma patients can benefit from it. However, before its available to the public, it must pass through regulations, but scientists and physicians are currently working on that and learning the regulations process.
Additional Help For Mesothelioma Victims
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