Experimental lymphoma vaccine tested at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center

July 18, 2001

Researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center are seeking volunteers for a final phase clinical trial that will test the safety and effectiveness of individually tailored vaccines to fight a common type of lymphoma.

The vaccines will be manufactured to target proteins unique to each patient's lymphoma, said Dr. Christos Emmanouilides, director of the Clinical Lymphoma Research Program at the Jonsson Cancer Center and principal investigator for the multi-center study.

UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center is the only institution in Southern California to offer this experimental vaccine therapy, researchers said.

The vaccine therapy, which will be combined with chemotherapy, has prompted encouraging results in earlier phase studies of about 100 people conducted at Stanford University, Emmanouilides said. To qualify for the study, volunteers should have untreated follicular lymphoma, a common form of cancer of the lymph nodes.

This type of lymphoma is considered incurable in most cases, Emmanouilides said. By the time it's diagnosed, the cancer often has spread to many lymph node groups or other organs. It can be manageable, but a cure is rare. However, the vaccine may provide some hope, he said.

"This may give us a new system to fight it," Emmanouilides said. "It's an exciting concept."

Volunteers for the study will have a sample of their cancerous tissue removed during a needle biopsy. That sample will be used to manufacture the vaccine. Volunteers will undergo eight rounds of chemotherapy and then will be injected with the individually tailored vaccine, which researchers hope will prompt the body's immune system to fight off the cancer while leaving healthy cells alone. Volunteers must undergo five weekly injections of the vaccine.

The injections will be done at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center. However, volunteers can get the chemotherapy at oncology offices in their own communities, Emmanouilides said.

In previous studies of the vaccine, patients remained in remission much longer than expected, Emmanouilides said. The Phase III randomized study -- the last phase of testing before a drug is submitted for approval -- is expected to last from one to two years.

Two-thirds of the study volunteers will receive chemotherapy and the individually manufactured vaccines. The remaining third will receive chemotherapy and a non-specific immune system stimulant, Emmanouilides said. All study volunteers will receive the chemotherapy regimen considered the conventional treatment for lymphoma, so treatment is not compromised.

In all, UCLA hopes to recruit more than 50 volunteers to participate in the study.

"This study will give us the opportunity to confirm the very encouraging Phase II results seen at Stanford," Emmanouilides said. "And it will allow us to provide a very sophisticated treatment for our patients."

Lymphoma is a cancer that starts in the lymphatic tissue. The lymphatic system serves an important bodily function, filtering germs and cancer cells as well as fluid from the extremities and internal organs. This tissue is found in many places throughout the body, including lymph nodes, the thymus, the spleen, the tonsils and adenoids, in the bone marrow, and scattered within other systems such as the digestive and respiratory tracts.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 63,600 new cases of lymphoma will be diagnosed this year. About 27,600 people will die from the disease.
For more information on the study, or to volunteer for the vaccine therapy, patients should call 310-825-2516 or 310-794-4376.

For more information about UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center, its people and resources, visit our Web site at http://www.cancer.mednet.ucla.edu.

University of California - Los Angeles

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.