Cancer Vaccine Breaking News

Cancer vaccine breaking news brought to you by Vax Before Cancer.

Jan 26, 2021 • 7:05 pm CST

Social media has a history of being a popular place for health discussions, and the HPV vaccine is one of the most discussed vaccines on the internet. Monique Luisi, an assistant professor in the University of Missouri School of Journalism, has studied more than 6,500 public HPV vaccine-related posts on Facebook from 2006 to 2016.

Luisi suggests this negative trend on Facebook may also cause people to develop a false perception of the health risk of HPV vaccines.

After looking at the percentage of posts that made the vaccine seem more dangerous, less dangerous, or neither, Luisi found nearly 40% of Facebook posts about the HPV vaccine amplified a perceived risk, and the study data suggests these posts had momentum over time.

"We should not assume that only the disease is perceived as a risk, but when research supports it, that medical treatments and interventions might unfortunately also be perceived as risks," she said. "It's more likely that people are going to see things on social media, particularly on Facebook, that are not only negative about the HPV vaccine but will also suggest the HPV vaccine could be harmful. It amplifies the fear that people may have about the vaccine, and we see that posts that amplify fear are more likely to trend than those that don't."

Jan 26, 2021 • 6:30 pm CST

France-based Transgene announced on January 21, 2021, that the first patient with head and neck cancer had been dosed with the Company’s innovative, individualized immunotherapy, TG4050. This novel therapeutic cancer vaccine is based on Transgene’s myvac® technology platform, which leverages cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence capabilities to customize each patient's treatment.

The goal of TG4050 is to provide the immune system with the information it needs to identify cancer cells and trigger a targeted immune response to treat the disease, said the company.

Prof. Jean-Pierre Delord, Director of the Claudius Regaud Institute and General Manager of the IUCT Oncopole, stated in a press release, “Each tumor has its own very specific potential immune targets. Head & neck cancer patients currently have no effective treatments to prevent recurrence of the disease, and half of these high-risk patients will relapse within the first year after initial treatment."

"TG4050 can address the medical need of these patients either as a single agent or in combination with the standard of care."

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Jan 26, 2021 • 4:28 pm CST

Vancouver based BioVaxys Technology Corp. announced on January 25, 2021, that it has commenced the clinical development program for BVX-0918A, its haptenized tumor antigen vaccine for ovarian cancer.

BioVaxys has developed its vaccine technology platforms based on the established immunological concept that modifying tumor or viral antigens with simple chemicals called haptens makes them more visible to the immune system. The process of haptenization "teaches" a patient's immune system to recognize and make target proteins more 'visible' as foreign, thereby stimulating an immune response.

BioVaxys Founder, President & Chief Operating Officer Ken Kovan said in a press release: "The autologous approach may have advantages over other approaches, such as those involving a search for specific antigens. Because autologous tumor cells by definition have the patient's unique set of antigens already on them, the challenge is to increase the immune system's ability to recognize the ovarian tumor cells as foreign, breaking the "self-tolerance".

"A way to achieve this is by the use of a hapten, which is the foundation for the BioVaxys' haptenized protein vaccine platform."

The Company plans to seek a compassionate use approval in the European Union for Stage III & Stage IV ovarian cancer. And the Company plans to submit its Clinical Trial Application for BVX-0918A with the European Medicines Agency later in 2021.

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Jan 25, 2021 • 4:58 pm CST

Australian researchers have identified a new mechanism in which prostate cancer cells can 'switch' character and become resistant to therapy. These findings, just published in Cell Reports, are an important development in unraveling how an aggressive subtype of prostate cancer, neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC), develops after hormonal therapies.

It is well established that some tumors show increased cellular 'plasticity' in response to new or stressful conditions, such as cancer therapy, says lead researcher Associate Professor Luke Selth, from the Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute, in a January 5, 2021, press release.

This plasticity allows the cancer cells to adapt and continue to grow by evolving into different cell types that no longer respond to the therapy.

"Increased cellular plasticity is increasingly recognized as a key feature by which prostate cancers become resistant to therapy and progress to a lethal stage," he says. "Our new study reveals that a particular molecule, the microRNA 'miR-194', can enhance this plasticity in prostate cancer, leading to the emergence of NEPC. By targeting miR-194, we were able to slow down and inhibit the growth of prostate cancer models with neuroendocrine features."

Jan 18, 2021 • 1:22 pm CST

Daiichi Sankyo and AstraZeneca announced that on January 15, 2021, ENHERTU® had been approved in the U.S. to treat adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic HER2 positive gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma who have received a prior trastuzumab-based regimen.

Regular approval by the U.S. FDA was based on the positive results from the randomized pivotal DESTINY-Gastric01 phase 2 trial, in which ENHERTU demonstrated a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in overall survival and objective response rate versus chemotherapy (irinotecan or paclitaxel) in patients with advanced gastric or GEJ adenocarcinoma who had progressed on at least two prior regimens including trastuzumab, a fluoropyrimidine, and platinum-containing chemotherapy.

ENHERTU is approved with Boxed WARNINGS for interstitial lung disease (ILD)/pneumonitis and embryo-fetal toxicity.

Ronan Kelly, M.D., MBA, Director of the Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center and the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Chair of Immunology at Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, said in a press statement, “This approval represents the first time a HER2 directed medicine has demonstrated a significant improvement in survival compared to chemotherapy for patients following initial treatment in the metastatic setting, and it has the potential to become the new standard of care for this patient population.”

Approximately one in five gastric cancers are HER2 positive.

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Jan 12, 2021 • 1:33 pm CST

North Carolina based Istari Oncology, Inc. announced that the U.S. FDA had granted orphan drug designation for PVSRIPO to treat advanced melanoma (stage IIB-IV). PVSRIPO is a novel viral immunotherapy based on the Sabin type 1 polio vaccine that activates a patient’s innate and adaptive immune system to facilitate an anti-tumor response and establish long-term immunologic memory to help prevent cancer’s return.

Unlike other viral immunotherapies, PVSRIPO has a distinct target (the poliovirus receptor CD155), widely expressed in the neoplastic cells of most solid tumors. Via CD155, PVSRIPO targets tumors with two primary mechanisms: 1) direct damage to and killing of cancerous cells; and 2) engaging innate and adaptive antitumor immune responses via sublethal infection of antigen-presenting cells in the tumor, which unleashes an inflammatory cascade resulting in sustained systemic antitumor immunity. 

A new clinical study, LUMINOS-102, follows a successful Phase 1 monotherapy study of PVSRIPO in anti-PD1 refractory advanced melanoma in which patients who received 3 injections (6/12) had an overall response rate of 67% (4/6).

Matt Stober, President and CEO at Istari Oncology, stated in a press release issued on January 10, 2021, “This is just one of many milestones to come in 2021 as we continue to drive the clinical development of PVSRIPO across multiple indications.”

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Jan 9, 2021 • 4:46 am CST

This study published by the U.S. CDC on January 5, 2021, confirms previous findings that few adults meet ideal cardiovascular health metrics, such as not smoking, having normal body mass index, being physically active, eating a healthy diet, and having normal levels of total cholesterol and blood pressure.

This behavior results in excess heart age ≥5 years.

In this study, the prevalence of excess heart age ≥5 years was higher among the following groups: men, cancer survivors with lower income and lower educational attainment, and non-Hispanic Black cancer survivors, particularly women.

The findings indicate that wellness plans for all cancer survivors, particularly the most affected groups, should focus on cardiovascular risk. As cancer survivors live longer, more attention can be focused on modifiable risk factors that affect cancer and CVD.

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Jan 7, 2021 • 3:42 am CST

Australia based Immutep Limited reported on January 6, 2021, it has enrolled and safely dosed the last patient for stage 2 of Part C of its TACTI-002 Phase II study. This completes recruitment for Part C of the trial, which evaluates 2nd line HNSCC patients being treated with Immutep’s lead product candidate, eftilagimod alpha (“efti” or “IMP321”) in combination with MSD’s KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab).

The Company expects to report more data from TACTI-002 in the first half of CY 2021.

Dec 30, 2020 • 1:02 pm CST

In a study published in Cell Systems, researchers at Harvard Medical School (HMS) identified a new mechanism for how certain melanoma cancer cells can evade targeted therapy.

Working with cells in culture, these HMS researchers discovered that drug treatment leaves behind a population of “persister” melanoma cells that can survive and slowly divide due to sporadic, short-lived pulses of a growth signal. The signal is triggered by proteins outside of the cell and rewires growth pathways into a configuration unaffected by drugs.

The results offer new insight into a form of reversible drug resistance that results from a cell’s environment. The authors said that understanding these environmental effects will help with the design of better therapies and drug combinations against melanoma and other cancers.

“Preventing or overcoming drug resistance is the greatest challenge in using targeted anticancer therapies more effectively,” said senior study author Peter Sorger, the Otto Krayer Professor of Systems Pharmacology and director of the Laboratory of Systems Pharmacology at HMS, in a press release. “Cancers become drug-resistant in multiple ways, some of which involve genetic changes and others of which do not. If we can understand these resistance mechanisms, we can overcome them.”

Dec 28, 2020 • 7:01 am CST

AstraZeneca and MSD’s Lynparza (olaparib) announced on December 28, 2020, have been approved in Japan to treat advanced ovarian, prostate, and pancreatic cancers.

The three approvals authorize Lynparza for: maintenance treatment after 1st-line chemotherapy containing bevacizumab (genetical recombination) for patients with homologous recombination repair deficient (HRD) ovarian cancer; the treatment of patients with BRCA gene-mutated (BRCAm) castrate-resistant prostate cancer with distant metastasis (mCRPC); and as maintenance treatment after platinum-based chemotherapy for patients with BRCAm curatively unresectable pancreas cancer.

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare's concurrent approvals are based on positive results from the PAOLA-1, PROfound, and POLO Phase III trials, which each were published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Roy Baynes, SVP and Chief Medical Officer, MSD Research Laboratories, said: “For patients in Japan diagnosed with each of these types of cancer, there are very few treatment options. Approvals for treatments such as Lynparza, the first PARP inhibitor to be approved in these specific types of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer and metastatic pancreatic cancer in Japan, enable us to advance this evolving era of personalized medicine and change how these cancers are treated.”

Dec 24, 2020 • 4:14 pm CST

Evaxion Biotech announced the dosing of the first patient in a Phase I/IIa clinical trial of its adjuvant immunotherapy EVX-02, combined with checkpoint inhibitors in patients with advanced melanoma. The study is planned to occur at five clinical centers in Australia, targeting the recruitment of 46 patients. Early data readout from this Phase I/IIa is expected in H1 2021.

Lars Wegner, CEO of Evaxion Biotech, said in a press release issued on December 23, 2020, “We are very excited to start this Phase I/IIa study with EVX-02 further demonstrating the potential of Evaxion’s integrated PIONEER™ artificial intelligence platform to accelerate the discovery and development of a new generation of patient-specific cancer immunotherapies."

"We believe that the computational power behind the discovery of this compound shows that EVX-02 may have the potential to make a difference in malignant melanoma, which accounts for 1% of skin tumors and causes of 60% mortality due to skin cancers.”

Dec 22, 2020 • 3:49 pm CST

Switzerland based Myovant Sciences Inc. announced that the U.S. FDA approved ORGOVYX™ (relugolix) to treat adult patients with advanced prostate cancer. ORGOVYX, which was granted Priority Review by the FDA, is the first and only oral gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) receptor antagonist for men with advanced prostate cancer.

The approval is based on efficacy and safety data from the Phase 3 HERO study of ORGOVYX and is expected to be available in January 2021.

“With the approval of ORGOVYX, men with advanced prostate cancer now have a new oral treatment option that has demonstrated robust efficacy and safety, all with one pill taken once-a-day,” said Lynn Seely, M.D., CEO of Myovant Sciences, in a press release.

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Dec 20, 2020 • 11:00 am CST

Piyush B. Gupta, Ph.D., Founder & Chief Executive Officer said in a press statement, “The best approach to eliminating the morbidity and mortality from cancer is to implement innovative technologies, accessible to treating physicians and patients, that demonstrate a significant improvement in early-stage diagnosis when treatment can be curative. This core belief serves as the guiding principle for all of our activities at Naveris, in order to transform the lives of patients suffering from virus-related cancers."

Naveris’ lead product, NavDx®, applies proprietary technology to enable ultrasensitive detection of HPV-related cancer and has been clinically validated through a 3-year longitudinal study, demonstrating 100% negative predictive value and 94% positive predictive value in detecting the recurrence of HPV-related head and neck cancer.

The findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, were from the largest and most comprehensive study investigating a blood test in HPV-related head and neck cancer. Naveris currently provides the NavDx test through its CLIA laboratory to cancer centers throughout the USA.

Dec 19, 2020 • 1:59 pm CST

In the last 30 years, significant progress has been made in the fight against cancer. To continue the progress and deliver hope to those battling cancer, biopharmaceutical research companies are working to develop more effective and better-tolerated treatments state the Medicines in Development for Cancer 2020 Report published on December 14, 2020.

Today, more than 1,300 medicines and vaccines for various cancers are currently in development by innovative biopharmaceutical research companies, all of which are in clinical trials or awaiting review by the U.S. FDA.

Examples of the science behind potential new cancer treatments include CAR-T therapy, which is intended to permanently alter a patient's T-cells to multiply in the body into an army to recognize and fight the root cause of disease; Gene editing, which is a technique involving the alteration of genes to correct mutations, introduce new genetic information or remove specific DNA sequences; RNA interference and antisense RNA, which are relatively new areas of research and build on a pathway that uses DNA sequence to turn the gene off or modify the gene's expression; and Tumor agnostic therapies, which are treatments based on the molecular markers of the tumor, such as a specific genetic mutation, rather than where the tumor originated in the body.

Dec 19, 2020 • 9:06 am CST

Researchers have developed a technology that leverages the polio vaccine to help treat cancer for those who develop the disease later in life. The technology, conceived at Duke University and developed by Istari Oncology, uses antigens produced by the polio vaccine to trigger the immune system to eat away at targeted cancer cells.

Istari announced on November 30, 2020, the first patient was dosed in the LUMINOS-101 Phase 2 clinical trial, assessing the safety and efficacy of PVSRIPO in combination with the immune checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme. PVSRIPO is a novel viral immunotherapy that activates a patient’s innate and adaptive immunity to facilitate a targeted anti-tumor immune response.