Novel Lung Cancer Vaccine Trial Launched at Moores UCSD Cancer Center

October 07, 2008

Oncologists at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in La Jolla are hoping to stave off the relentless march of advanced lung cancer by treating patients with a novel kind of cancer vaccine. While many vaccines attempt to pump up the immune system to fight off a cancer, the new vaccine, Lucanix, is genetically engineered to also trick the cancer into turning off its immune system-suppressing activities.

The first patients have begun enrolling in a new clinical trial at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center testing the effectiveness of the vaccine. The trial will involve 700 patients at some 90 centers worldwide.

Current treatments for advanced lung cancer have limited effectiveness and new therapies are needed, said Lyudmila Bazhenova, M.D., director of the Lung Cancer Unit at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center and assistant clinical professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

"The future treatments for advanced lung cancer may involve combinations of chemotherapy and targeted agents, and possibly even biologicals such as this," she said.

Roughly 430 patients die of lung cancer every day in the United States, according to Bazhenova, making it the nation's number one killer, despite being the second most common cancer. "While breast cancer mortality has declined about 15 percent, there hasn't been much improvement in mortality in lung cancer in the past several decades," she said. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 215,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed, and 162,000 individuals will die from the disease this year in the United States.

The vaccine, developed by NovaRx, a biopharmaceutical company based in San Diego, consists of lung cancer cells that have been genetically altered to shut down the cancer's ability to depress the immune system. In addition, the cells are also modified to enable the immune system to see them better.

Bazhenova explained that earlier tests of the vaccine's effectiveness produced encouraging results. The current trial is for patients with stage four non-small cell lung cancer who have completed four to six cycles of platinum-based chemotherapy. Those patients who have had a response to the treatment, meaning either tumor shrinkage or stable disease, may be eligible. The trial is a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, where neither patients nor doctors know who is getting the vaccine and who may be receiving a placebo. Patients receive injections once a month for 18 months, after which they receive two quarterly injections and are treated until disease progression. The trial's main goal is to determine if the vaccine can improve patient survival compared to taking placebo.
-end-
For more information, visit the Moores UCSD Cancer Center web site, http://cancer.ucsd.edu/patientcare/clinicaltrials/study_details.asp?P=NR001-03 or contact UCSD Clinical Research Coordinator Peter Vu at 858-822-5354, pvu@ucsd.edu.

The Moores UCSD Cancer Center is one of the nation's 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, combining research, clinical care and community outreach to advance the prevention, treatment and cure of cancer.

University of California - San Diego

Related Lung Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

State-level lung cancer screening rates not aligned with lung cancer burden in the US
A new study reports that state-level lung cancer screening rates were not aligned with lung cancer burden.

The lung microbiome may affect lung cancer pathogenesis and prognosis
Enrichment of the lungs with oral commensal microbes was associated with advanced stage disease, worse prognosis, and tumor progression in patients with lung cancer, according to results from a study published in Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

New analysis finds lung cancer screening reduces rates of lung cancer-specific death
Low-dose CT screening methods may prevent one death per 250 at-risk adults screened, according to a meta-analysis of eight randomized controlled clinical trials of lung cancer screening.

'Social smokers' face disproportionate risk of death from lung disease and lung cancer
'Social smokers' are more than twice as likely to die of lung disease and more than eight times as likely to die of lung cancer than non-smokers, according to research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress.

Lung cancer therapy may improve outcomes of metastatic brain cancer
A medication commonly used to treat non-small cell lung cancer that has spread, or metastasized, may have benefits for patients with metastatic brain cancers, suggests a new review and analysis led by researchers at St.

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.

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.

Lung transplant patients face elevated lung cancer risk
In an American Journal of Transplantation study, lung cancer risk was increased after lung transplantation, especially in the native (non-transplanted) lung of single lung transplant recipients.

Proposed cancer treatment may boost lung cancer stem cells, study warns
Epigenetic therapies -- targeting enzymes that alter what genes are turned on or off in a cell -- are of growing interest in the cancer field as a way of making a cancer less aggressive or less malignant.

Are you at risk for lung cancer?
This question isn't only for people who've smoked a lot.

Read More: Lung Cancer News and Lung 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.