Anti-cancer vaccine trials in Chennai soon

New Delhi: An anti-cancer therapeutic vaccine, developed by Indian scientists, is all set to undergo clinical trials in Chennai and the US in the next few months.

The vaccine, developed by scientists at the National Institute of Immunology (NII), seeks to prolong the life-span of patients with advanced stages of various kinds of cancer, including that of breast, ovarian, cervical and blood.

"The first clinical trials are expected to begin at Adayar Cancer Institute in Chennai early next year," Anil Suri, Convenor of the Cancer Research Programme at the NII said.

NII has also signed agreements with the National Cancer Institute in the US for undertaking clinical trials at the Sloan Kettering Memorial cancer hospital in New York. While the trial at Adayar Cancer Institute would focus on cervical cancer, the vaccine`s efficacy against ovarian cancer would be tested at Sloan Kettering, Suri said.

The Adayar hospital has plans to test the vaccine on 18 patients with Stage-III cancer and their responses will be compared against another group of 18 patients receiving standard therapy for cervical cancer.

The vaccine, which has shown positive results when tested on animals, works around a new cancer treatment method called dendritic cell therapy in which a patient`s own immune cells are used to fight cancer.

The therapy involves harvesting blood cells from a patient and processing them in the laboratory to produce those dendritic cells in large quantity and improve their efficacy, said T Rajkumar of the Adayar Cancer Institute.

These improved dendritic cells are given back to patients for optimally activating their own immune system to fight cancer.

India reports 10 lakh new cancer cases every year and four lakh die annually because of the disease. Union health ministry data shows over 25 lakh cancer patients in the
country at any point in time.

In developed countries, cancer deaths account for 21 per cent of all mortality claiming over 25 lakh victims every year.


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