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Mesothelioma Cancer Vaccine To Be Studied in Mesothelioma Trial at Cardiff University

mesothelioma cancer vaccineA new mesothelioma trial is scheduled to begin shortly at Cardiff University to test a new mesothelioma cancer vaccine.
The researchers at Cardiff University and the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff have in the past, partnered with Oxford, England-based Oxford BioMedica to study the company’s immunotherapy cancer vaccine called TroVax. According to Eric Butchart, discoverer of the Butchart Staging System, which was the first staging system to be developed to identify mesothelioma cancer, the vaccine offers great hope for mesothelioma cancer research. Mr. Butchart has spent time working with the research team,
In mesothelioma cancer, like any other cancer diagnosis, the cells do not die off, but continue to spread to other areas of the body.

TroVax works by harnessing the power of the patient’s own immune system. The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Zsuzsanna Tabi of Cardiff University, recently discovered that mesothelioma tumor cells, like many other cancer cells, express a protein called 5T4. TroVax works by stimulating a patient’s body to produce an anti-5T4 immune response which would theoretically then target any tumor cells carrying the 5T4 protein.

Although TroVax has been shown to produce an immune response against other types of cancer cells, a Phase III trial of the vaccine for renal cancer was stopped when it was determined the drug would not improve survival. The new study represents the first time TroVax has been studied for mesothelioma. TroVax will be studied in combination with the standard chemotherapeutic drugs for mesothelioma, Alimta and cisplatin.

New therapeutic agents are particularly important for mesothelioma, because it is so aggressive and because there are so few options now available to patients. Currently, most mesothelioma patients are treated with a combination of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. Even with these treatments, the prognosis is modest and life expectancy may be less than 18 months.

Immunotherapy drugs like TroVax may offer new hope for hard-to-cure cancers like mesothelioma. American biotech company Dendreon recently became the first company to win FDA approval for a cancer vaccine. They produce Provenge for prostate cancer.
The TroVax UK study is being funded by the June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund. No details have yet been released on how this new study will be funded or whether it will continue to utilize TroVax.

Sources:
“Oxford Biomedica Announces Collaborative Phase I/II Study to Evaluate TroVax is Mesothelioma”, June 24, 2010, ADVFN, News Service for the London Stock Exchange.
“Oxford BioMedica Collaborates With Cancer Immunologists to Evaluate TroVax In Phase I/II Study in Mesothelioma”, RTT News, StockMarketsReview.com.
Recent update received, Eric G Butchart, Retired, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, United Kingdom

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