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Melanoma vaccine developed at the University of Virginia shows promise in clinical trial

peripheral blood of 42 percent of the GMCSF patients. However, t-cell responses were observed in the lymph nodes of only 13 percent of the patients vaccinated with dendritic cells and 11 percent of those patients' peripheral blood.

Partial clinical responses, including tumor shrinkage, were seen in four of the 13 patients injected with the GMCSF emulsion. Two patients experienced stable disease for several months. Favorable outcomes were observed in two of the 13 patients on the dendritic cell arm. The only serious side effect was hyperglycemia in one patient. Other side effects included fatigue, weight loss, nausea and injection-site reaction.

"Peptide vaccines for cancer can induce an immune response in the body against the cancer cells with minimal toxicity, but so far there is no consensus about how best to vaccinate patients," said Slingluff. "Results from this U.Va. clinical trial seemed to show that the GMCSF emulsion is most effective. Multi-peptide vaccines with this emulsion warrant continued investigation."

Slingluff and the team of U.Va. scientists have kept the GMCSF arm of the melanoma vaccine trial open, and have offered booster vaccines to some patients with evidence of tumor regression or stable disease. They also are evaluating the impact of low-dose interleukin-2 combined with the melanoma vaccine on t-cell responses.

Nearly all skin cancers can be prevented by limiting sun exposure. The American Cancer Society recommends the "slip, slop, slap, wrap" method of prevention. Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen of 15 SPF or higher, slap on a hat and wrap on sunglasses before going out on sunny days.


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Contact: Bob Beard
reb8e@virginia.edu
434-982-4490
University of Virginia Health System
30-Oct-2003


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