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Multiple Myeloma Vaccine Shows Promise In Phase 1 Clinical Trial

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Published: Nov 8, 2010 3:07 pm

The results of a recent Phase 1 trial demonstrate that a multiple myeloma vaccine produced disease stabilization in the majority of enrolled myeloma patients with advanced disease.

Researchers from Beth Isreael Deaconess Medical Center and Dana Farber Cancer Institute designed an anti-myeloma vaccine by combining myeloma tumor cells with dendritic cells, a type of cell that helps activate the immune system. When administered to patients, the vaccine stimulates the immune system to form a response against myeloma proteins. As a result, the immune system recognizes myeloma cells as “foreign” and will destroy them. This form of cancer treatment, known as “immunotherapy,” may one day provide an alternative to chemotherapy or stem cell transplantation.

A total of 18 multiple myeloma patients were enrolled in the trial. Patients had received an average of four prior treatment regimens. Fourteen patients had previously undergone high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation.

The dendritic cells used to create the vaccine were grown from a subset of white blood cells collected from each patient. Tumor cells were collected from the bone marrow of patients and combined with the dendritic cells prior to vaccination.

Patients were divided into three groups, each of which received a vaccination with a different concentration of dendritic and tumor cells.

Following vaccination, 11 patients demonstrated at least a two-fold increase in the percentage of tumor-reactive white blood cells. Researchers also found that vaccination generated antibodies to several proteins produced by the tumor cells.

Stable disease was achieved in 11 patients following vaccination.  The longest duration of ongoing stable disease without evidence of progression was 41 months, which was achieved by one patient. The shortest observed duration was 2.5 months and was seen in four patients.

The vaccine was well tolerated and did not result in decreased blood cell counts or auto-immunity, a condition in which the patient’s immune system attacks the patient's own cells and tissues. The most common side effects were redness and pain at the vaccine injection site.

The researchers suggested future trials investigate the use of the vaccine in multiple myeloma patients who undergo vaccination soon after stem cell transplantation.

For more information, please see the article in the journal Blood (abstract).

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  • Lori Puente said:

    This is so exciting! Wouldn't it be incredible if treatment could be a vaccine? I know there have been many scientists around the country working on this idea. It will be exciting to see the results.

  • Tom Liebert said:

    I'm one of the patients who participated in the clinical trial. I now
    have no active disease, and am not being treated. I was diagnosed
    in September 2006 with kappa light chain MM at Durie-Salmon Stage III.
    The dendritic cell vaccine appears to be working...at least for me.

  • Peter M. Parker said:

    -Tom and Lori, I read about Arkanas/UAMS trials starting early 2011, where Dr. van Rhee et al. will follow that idea also. I'm not sure, if it's a similar approach, I will now go deeper into if, after I've read this article. Anyway, great news.