A small American clinical trial has found that a vaccine targeted against specific cancer cells has had
long lasting beneficial effects in patients with a high risk of recurrence. The vaccine, known as
NeoVax, is designed to target proteins on the tumour cells and is made specifically for each patient’s
individual of cancer cells.
The study involved eight individuals who previously had surgical removal of their malignant
melanoma, but were at high risk of recurrence. The vaccine which targeted the specific cancer
proteins on their individual cancers provided the patients with long term protection from melanoma
recurrence – in a similar way to other vaccines work, by helping the body’s immune system
recognise the cancer as foreign. Unlike chemotherapy, as this vaccine targets only these specific
cancer proteins found on tumour cells, they spare normal cells from damage.
It is an early but exciting field in skin cancer research which has the potential to change the lives of
individuals diagnosed with malignant melanoma with beneficial effects surrounding long term