A complementary treatment currently approved is to vaccinate myeloma patients against pneumococcus, a common bacterial infection, a year after their transplantation. But why wait a year, wondered researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine? Their own investigation revealed that protective levels of immunity against pneumococcus could be obtained in patients who were given the prophylactic bacterial vaccine in addition to a new autologous T-cell-based vaccine only two weeks after transplantation. Indeed, protection developed in the patients within a month after the transplantation. Their clinical trial is described in this week's online edition of Nature Medicine.
"We found that we can rapidly rebuild the patients' immunity after chemotherapy and stem-cell transplant," said Carl June, MD, Director of Translational Research at Penn's Abramson Cancer Center. "For future studies, we will apply the principles learned from this study to hone the development of a cancer vaccine aimed directly at tumors and other cancers," added June, who is also Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in Penn's School of Medicine.
Early Measures Prove Highly Effective
Patients in the study were all given two pneumococcal vaccines one month and three months after their stem-cell transplants; whereas normally they would have to wait up to a year. The patients were then divided into four groups: one group received an initial pneumococcal vaccine before transplantation and chemotherapy, then a T-cell vaccine immediately after; a second gro
Contact: Karen Kreeger
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine