A personalized cancer vaccine developed with the Mount Sinai computing platform has passed Phase I trials and has shown potential benefit in patients with a variety of cancers.
Immunotherapy has revolutionized cancer treatment, but the vast majority of patients experience no significant clinical response with this treatment. Therefore, we focused on vaccines: they usually combine tumor-specific targets that the immune system can learn to recognize and attack to prevent cancer from recurring. The vaccine also contains an adjuvant that stimulates the immune system to maximize effectiveness.
Thomas Marron, MD, Assistant Director for Early Phase and Immunotherapy Trials at Tisch Cancer Institute
To create a personalized cancer vaccine, Dr. Marron and his colleagues sequenced each patient’s tumor and germline DNA and tumor RNA. They also identified the patient’s tumor target to help predict if the immune system would recognize the vaccine.
The Mount Sinai Computing Platform enables researchers to identify and prioritize immunogenic targets for synthesis and inclusion in a vaccine.
Most experimental personalized cancer vaccines are administered in metastatic settings. Still, previous research suggests immunotherapy tends to be more effective in patients with less cancer spread, said Nina Bhardwaj, M.D., director of the immunotherapy program and chair of the Ward-Coleman Cancer Research Department. At the Tisch Cancer Institute on Mount Sinai.
Therefore, the authors have developed a neoantigen vaccine that is administered after standard adjuvant therapy such as surgery: it is necessary for solid tumors, bone marrow transplantation, and multiple myeloma.
The results show that the pipeline is great at creating a safe, personalized cancer vaccine that could potentially be used to treat a range of tumor types.
After observing the patients for 880 days, four patients showed no signs of cancer, four continued to receive therapy, and four died. The vaccine was well-tolerated, and about a third of patients developed mild injection site reactions.