DNA-based CRC treatment to be tested in 1st human trial

A potentially life expectancy-increasing DNA-based colorectal cancer vaccine treatment is set to undergo its first human trial, according to research to be presented at Digestive Disease Week 2018, June 2 to June 5 in Washington, D.C.

Researchers from Melbourne, Australia-based Peter MacCallum Cancer Center tested a combination therapy of a DNA vaccine with an antibody that eliminated the body's natural defences against the DNA vaccine in several mice forced to develop colorectal cancer.

The tumors in the mice responded to the vaccine well, curing the cancer in about half of them. Before the treatment, the mice were expected to live a few days. About 50 percent of them lived for up to two years.

The treatment also developed an immune memory in the body. Researchers attempted to reintroduce tumors into mice that were cured during the study. Their immune systems immediately destroyed the tumor upon its reintroduction.

Researchers are about to start a phase 1 trail in 32 human patients with advanced-stage CRC. The study is attempting to test the safety of the treatment. If the treatment is found to be safe, patients will receive the full treatment.

Study lead Robert Ramsay, PhD, said, "We are on the cusp of testing something that could be transformative for cancer treatment. Cancer vaccines are getting closer to the clinic every day and are likely to provide a safer and more effective pillar of treatment for patients. Right now, the pillars of treatment include surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and vaccines would bring immunotherapy to the mix."

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