Treatment with a HER2-targeted therapeutic cancer vaccine provided clinical benefit to several patients with metastatic HER2-positive cancers who had not previously been treated with a HER2-targeted therapeutic, according to data from a phase I clinical trial presented at the Fourth CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference: Translating Science into Survival, held September 30-October 3, 2018, in New York City. Among 11 evaluable patients who had received more than the lowest dose of the vaccine, six (54 percent) had clinical benefit. One patient with ovarian cancer had a complete response that lasted 89 weeks, one patient with gastroesophageal cancer had a partial response that lasted 16 weeks, and four patients (two with colon cancer, one with prostate cancer, and one with ovarian cancer) had stable disease. "Immunotherapy marshals the exquisite specificity of the immune system to destroy cancer, and some types may have potentially fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy," said Jay A. Berzofsky, MD, PhD, Chief of the Vaccine Branch at the Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. "We are using a vaccine approach to generate an immune response to HER2, which is found at high levels on and drives the growth of several types of cancer, including breast, ovarian, lung, colorectal, and gastroesophageal cancers. "Our results suggest that we have a very promising vaccine for HER2-overexpressing cancers," continued Dr. Berzofsky. "We hope that one day the vaccine will provide a new treatment option for patients with these cancers."
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