The groundbreaking development of a lung cancer vaccine could change everything about lung cancer treatment – and even mesothelioma treatment.
A lung cancer immunotherapy drug, CIMAvax-EGF, has made steady strides in the treatment of lung cancer. Due to the drug’s success, a team of researchers at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is applying the immunotherapy drug in revolutionary ways.
Instead of studying how to treat cancer with CIMAvax-EGF, the research team is studying how the immunotherapy drug can prevent cancer altogether.
The purpose of the lung cancer vaccine study is to determine if CIMAvax-EGF can be used to alter the biomarkers in the lungs and significantly lower the patient’s risk of lung cancer.
Details of the Lung Cancer Vaccine Study
The lung cancer vaccine clinical trial taking place at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York, is open to adults ages 50-79. The selected participants are split into two groups:
- Group 1 – People who have never had lung cancer but are considered high risk due to:
- A high smoking history (at least one pack a day for 30 years)
- A family history of lung cancer
- Diagnosis of COPD or pneumonia within the last five years
- Occupational history to substances such as asbestos or radon
- Group 2 – People who have been diagnosed with lung cancer (up to stage 3A), completed treatment for at least three months, and shown no evidence of disease within six months of starting treatment.
Group 2 is for lung cancer vaccine treatment after the cancer has already formed. Group 1 is particularly interesting, as it involves testing whether a vaccine can prevent lung cancer for at-risk people by altering the cellular genetics of their lungs.
Participants must undergo a complete screening period before they are cleared for participation. Pre-trial screenings include bronchoscopy, pulmonary function test, chest CT scan and a complete physical assessment (blood tests, nasal swabs and full health history review).
Some of these tests and screenings will be conducted multiple times throughout the study to monitor participant responses.
Once cleared for participation, four doses of CIMAvax vaccine are injected intramuscularly – one in each arm and one in each leg. Patients will receive injections every two weeks for two months, followed by monthly treatment.
How Will A Lung Cancer Vaccine Benefit Mesothelioma Patients?
The progress of the lung cancer vaccine is great news to the entire cancer industry, but it could have a higher-than-normal impact on patients with mesothelioma or people at risk of developing the rare asbestos-caused cancer.
As we know, the lung cancer vaccine was derived from an immunotherapy drug, which boosts the immune system to better recognize and fight off foreign invaders. The vaccine has the potential to prevent the growth or recurrence of unwanted cells by partnering with the immune system.
The problem with cancer cells is they grow from the body’s natural tissue, so the immune system struggles to recognize cancer cells as foreign invaders. The immune system primarily fights off common bacteria and viruses.
Cancer vaccines will be intended to enhance the immune system’s ability to recognize cancer cells and kill them, preventing them from growing, spreading, or returning.
Developing a mesothelioma cancer vaccine would be revolutionary for patients and their loved ones. Mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose and has a high rate of recurrence. By implementing a vaccine, doctors could prevent a diagnosis altogether, which eliminates the chance for recurrence. This would relieve patients and loved ones from unnecessary pain and stress.
Similarities Between Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma
One of the main reasons the development of a lung cancer vaccine could have an impact on mesothelioma treatment is the similarity between the two cancers.
Pleural mesothelioma, the most common type of mesothelioma, forms near the lungs. This means any progress in lung cancer treatment is often translated to mesothelioma treatment and can have similar success.
Immunotherapy treatment is becoming a more common approach in cases of mesothelioma. The clinical trial focuses on an immunotherapy drug and applying it as a cancer vaccine. The immunotherapy drug had positive effects on patients with lung cancer, which means it could have similar effects on mesothelioma.
Roswell Park’s development of a lung cancer vaccine is a giant leap towards vaccines for other types of cancer. If the lung cancer vaccine proves to be successful in preventing the development or recurrence of cancer, this method could be applied for other types of cancer, including mesothelioma.
Sources & Author
A vaccine to prevent lung cancer? Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Retrieved from: https://www.roswellpark.org/cancertalk/202302/vaccine-prevent-lung-cancer. Accessed: 02/08/2023.
Sources & Author