The cancer vaccine UV1
In the article the Norwegian company Ultimovacs was presented. And this company has developed a cancer vaccine called UV1. The positive thing is that this vaccine is meant to work to any type of cancer. I cross my fingers…..
Ultimovacs has made small synthetic fragments of some proteins called telomerase peptides. They are pretty much the same like the cells present in the tumour. The tumour is now getting visible for the immune system. New T-cells are made which is very specific for the tumour itself. The T-cells in the Immune system will then recognise, attack and destroy the tumour.
The article presented a recent study with 20 patients with malignant melanoma. This study will also be presented at the major cancer conference ASCO in June. These patients received pembrolizumab in combination with the cancer vaccine. The goal with the combining is to achieve a better effect of the treatment.
Counsellor Steinar Aamdal in Ultimovacs has over the years researched immunotherapy and malignant melanoma. “There has been an incredible development in the treatment of malignant melanoma. But we must remember that 40 to 50 percent benefit from the treatment and the rest don’t. That’s why we want to add a vaccine in addition.”
In the study six of 20 patients are cancer-free on imaging which means complete remission. Six patients have more than 30 percent less tumours a so-called partial remission. That is a total objective response rate of 60 percent
This is a small study – how sure are you that the results hold?
It is not always easy to compare a large study with a small study. Bjørheim emphasises that the company interprets the findings from the study as “a signal”.
It was a unexpectedly high number of patients with complete response. Four other studies are ongoing with over 500 patients with different cancers like malignant melanoma, mesothelioma, ovarian cancer and head and neck cancer.
How soon will we have a vaccine?
It is a few years ahead in time before the vaccine is ready, says Bjørheim. Counsellor Aamdal is positive. “I am optimistic about getting a vaccine in combination with the current treatment. Not everyone has the effect of today’s treatment and we have to lift that curve.”