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Trials show new cancer vaccine could improve patient survival for some lung cancers by nearly half

New cancer vaccine could improve patient survival for some lung cancers - study
New cancer vaccine could improve patient survival for some lung cancers - study Copyright Canva
Copyright Canva
By Oceane Duboust with AFP
Published on Updated
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A French biotechnology company said that its cancer vaccine was effective in decreasing the risk of death for people with some lung cancers by 41%.

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A new vaccine has been shown to improve survival for people suffering from certain lung cancers, according to a French biotechnology company.

Ose Immunotherapeutics’ Tedopi vaccine has been shown to be effective in reducing mortality rates in certain lung cancers, the company said in a statement on Monday.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Europe and the US.

The results of a phase 3 clinical trial to evaluate the therapeutic benefits of the vaccine – the last step before a drug can be marketed – were published in the Annals of Oncology journal.

The vaccine was administered to patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC or adenocarcinoma), the most common type of lung cancer and one that is “usually less sensitive to chemotherapy and radiation therapy,” according to the US Cancer Institute.

41% decrease in risk of death

A total of 219 patients, all of whom had shown resistance to other treatments, took part in the study in nine European countries and the United States. There were 139 patients who received the vaccine and 80 who received chemotherapy.

The patients who received Tedopi showed a significantly higher survival rate and a better quality of life than those who received chemotherapy.

“A significant 41% reduction in the risk of death was observed, associated with an improved tolerance score and maintained quality of life,” said Professor Benjamin Besse from the Gustave Roussy Institute, the study’s lead author, in a statement.

Ose Immunotherapeutics’ vaccine was used in this trial as a third-line treatment, meaning that the patients had already received two other therapies.

“Further evaluation is clearly warranted in a second line of treatment of advanced and metastatic NSCLC, to potentially make this cancer vaccine available to hard-to-treat patients in failure and with high medical needs,” Besse added.

The Tedopi vaccine is effective in patients with the HLA-A2 gene, which is present in about half the population, according to Ose Immunotherapeutics.

It is administered initially every three weeks, then every eight weeks for one year, and then every 12 weeks.

Nicolas Poirier, the company’s CEO said the recent results of the different trials “highlighted the promise of this new therapeutic class of vaccines”.

Advances in immunotherapy

Tedopi is a therapeutic cancer vaccine, not a preventive measure.

Therapeutic cancer vaccines aim to train the immune system to specifically recognise and destroy tumour cells. In other words, they use the patient’s own defence system to fight cancer.

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The field of immunotherapy has made considerable advancements since the 2010s, and it has benefited from research during the pandemic, which "has accelerated the production of vaccines, specifically mRNA vaccines," according to Cancer Research UK.

Several immunotherapeutics treatments have since been approved, and research is still ongoing. 

Earlier this year, the UK government signed an agreement with BioNTech to begin cancer vaccine trials, treating up to 10,000 patients by 2030.

According to Market Future Insight, the global cancer vaccines market is expected to be worth €22 billion in 2033, despite the expensive costs of the treatments.

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The value of Ose Immunotherapeutics’ shares rose by 60 per cent on the Paris Stock Exchange the day following the announcement of the trial results.

Video editor • Aisling Ní Chúláin

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