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Scope 48 - Major milestones in our cancer vaccine

30 July 2012


The arrival of Prof Franca Ronchese sees

a new direction for the Malaghan Institute –

the dawn of cancer immunotherapy research.




Techniques established for growing

dendritic cells in thelaboratory.





First demonstration that a vaccine made from dendritic

cells and tumour peptides (protein fragments), delayed the

development of cancer in a mouse model.



The safety and feasibility of making a cancer vaccine from

a patient’s own dendritic cells and tumour fragments tested

in individuals with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.



Significant progress made in defining the critical cell types,

cytokines and vaccine conditions required for optimal

anti-tumour immune responses.



New knowledge applied to Phase III

clinical trial in patients with melanoma.





Killing of the dendritic cells in the vaccine by the same immune cells that

eradicate the cancer identified as a reason for the promising but limited

anti-tumour immune responses elicited by the cancer vaccine to date. New

research focus launched to identify solution for this problem.



Clinical study initiated to explore the possibility of using

immunotherapy to treat patients with chronic lymphocytic

leukaemia (CLL), the most common blood cancer in New Zealand.



A phase I vaccine clinical trial undertaken to explore the feasibility of

usingcancer immunotherapy in combination with chemotherapy to treat

patients with the aggressive brain tumour glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).



Further refinement of cancer vaccine and demonstration that a compound

from marine sponges called alpha-galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer)

improved the anti-tumour immune response in mouse models.



Safety, feasibility and efficacy of using the á-GalCer adjuvant in

combination with refined cancer vaccine will be tested in a Phase I

clinical trial for melanoma.



Use of simplified cell-free cancer vaccines that target

the activation of dendritic cells already present in patients.


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