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Thousands set to benefit from personalised cancer vaccines

By June 5, 2024No Comments

Thousands of cancer patients in England are set to gain fast-tracked access to trials of personalised cancer vaccines following the launch of a world-leading NHS trial “matchmaking” service to help find new life-saving treatments.

The NHS announced it has treated its first patient in England with a personalised vaccine against their bowel cancer, in a clinical trial part of NHS England’s new Cancer Vaccine Launch Pad.

In a national first, father-of-four Elliot Phebve received the developmental jab at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, one of several sites taking part in the colorectal cancer vaccine trial sponsored by BioNTech SE.

The company recently presented new preliminary data at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual conference in Chicago on how measuring circulating tumour DNA could potentially help early detection of colorectal cancer.

The vaccine trial is one of several that will be taking place in NHS trusts across the country to treat different types of cancer. Thousands more patients are expected to benefit from NHS England’s new Cancer Vaccine Launch Pad, which will enable those wanting to participate in clinical trials to be fast-tracked to one of the nearest participating hospitals.

Patients who agree to take part have a sample of their cancer tissue and a blood test taken. If they meet a clinical trial’s eligibility criteria, they can be referred to their nearest participating NHS site, meaning patients from hospitals across the country will find it easier than ever to take part in groundbreaking research.

The investigational cancer vaccines evaluated in the colorectal cancer trial are based on mRNA and are created by analysing a patient’s tumour to identify mutations specific to their own cancer. Using this information, medics then create an experimental individualised cancer vaccine.

The developmental vaccines are designed to induce an immune response that may prevent cancer from returning after surgery on the primary tumour, by stimulating the patient’s immune system to specifically recognise and potentially destroy any remaining cancer cells.

Ben Kemp