Cancer Vaccine Information

Availability of Cancer Vaccines

The first monoclonal antibody therapy treatment, approved in 1986, was made from the B cells of mice. Because the antibodies were slightly different than those produced by humans, the immune systems of the patients produced antibodies against the mouse antibodies in 85% of subjects. This made the treatment far less effective, and future antibody treatments focused on human B cells.

The FDA approved the second monoclonal antibody treatment, Abciximab, in 1994 and two others in 1997. Currently, eighteen such therapies have been approved, and 150 therapies are undergoing clinical trials. They are being developed for melanoma, kidney cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, and others. The FDA has already approved antibody treatments for melanoma, kidney cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer.

The future is promising for cancer vaccines. With all of the advancement made in cancer treatment vaccines and the demonstrated success of cancer prevention vaccines and monoclonal antibody treatment, it is difficult not to be optimistic. Much more time will still be needed for cancer treatment vaccines, however, as the immediate benefits lie in the expansion of treatment by and development of vaccines to prevent cancer-causing viruses.

Therapeutic cancer vaccine research and development faces many challenges. An effective cancer vaccine must contain several components, including tumor antigens, immunological adjuvants, delivery systems, and immunosuppression modulators, which need to be chosen in the optimal combination to fight the particular cancer. Many highly complex and coordinated clinical trials are required to determine this combination. Availability of these components can also be an issue, either from a supply standpoint or a confidentiality standpoint. Obtaining the desired components and getting permission to combine them in such ways can be difficult. Furthermore, monitoring of immunological response must be state-of-the-art in order to compare and rank different combinations in order of effectiveness.

To face these challenges, the Cancer Vaccine Collaborative (CVC) was formed in 2001. It is a partnership between the Cancer Research Institute and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Ltd., two of the leading cancer immunology research organizations in the world. The organization uses dozens of the leading immunologists in the world to address these challenges. They are experts in design of complex clinical trials and immunological response measurement, two keys to development of the best possible vaccines to fight cancer.

Despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges, the future for cancer vaccine development is bright. Dozens of clinical trials are currently underway and others are approved to evaluate therapeutic vaccines to treat many forms of cancer, including bladder cancer, brain tumors, breast cancer, cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s Disease, kidney cancer, melanoma, multiple myeloma, leukemia, lung cancer, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, pancreatic cancer, and prostate cancer.

Vaccines in combination therapy for cancer


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