A recent Stanford cancer study that cured 97 percent of mice from tumors has now moved on to searching for human volunteers to participate in a cutting-edge medical trial.
The trial is part of a gathering wave of research into immunotherapy, a type of treatment that fights cancer by using the body’s immune system to attack tumors.
The researchers believe the local application of very small amounts of the agents could serve as a rapid and relatively inexpensive cancer therapy that is unlikely to cause the adverse side effects often seen with bodywide immune stimulation.
“When we use these two agents together, we see the elimination of tumors all over the body,” said Ronald Levy, MD, professor of oncology. “This approach bypasses the need to identify tumor-specific immune targets and doesn’t require wholesale activation of the immune system or customization of a patient’s immune cells.”
The treatment is not a true vaccine that creates lasting immunity, but it does feature a vaccine-like injection carrying two immune stimulators that activate the immune system’s T cells to eliminate tumors throughout the body.
Each test subject receives a low dose of radiation plus two rounds of the injected agents, Levy said. No chemotherapy is involved.
The treatment does not work on all types of cancer, Levy said, because each type of cancer has a different set of rules regarding how it can be affected by the immune system.
For the current trials, he is only looking for people with low-grade lymphoma regardless if they have been previously treated. He said Stanford is planning on running two trials by the end of the year with a total of about 35 test subjects.
“The two drugs we are injecting are made by two different companies and have already been proven safe for people,” Levy said. “It’s the combination we are testing.”
Side effects at this point include fever and soreness at the injection site but no vomiting, Levy said.
He said if the FDA does end up granting final approval, he wouldn’t expect it any sooner than a year or two from now.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
March 27th, 2018