Optimism at Roswell Park over new clinical trial

Jan 24, 2012

A phase-one study is getting underway at Buffalo's Roswell Park Cancer Institute that utilizes a vaccine that helps train a patient's own cells to become cancer-fighting agents.   The vaccine to be used will be produced on site, and only at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

"This is great progress.  This is remarkable progress that we have made," said Roswell Park Cancer Institute's Dr. Kunle Odunsi.  "I don't think we'll make a claim that this is a cure for cancer, but this is a step in the right direction towards that goal."

The study about to launch involves a vaccine known as NY-ESO-1.  What doctors at Roswell Park will do is remove cells from cancer patients' immune systems, treat the cells outside the body with the vaccine, then return them inside the patient's body.  The vaccine is designed to help train these cells to recruit other cells within the body, and together identify and destroy cancerous cells.

As a phase one trial, doctors will check to ensure there are no long-term safety threats before they test for effectiveness.  Dr. Odunsi's past work with NY-ESO-1, however, has been promising.  Back in 2004 a clinical test was conducted on ovarian cancer patients.  One of the women identified in the study has remained cancer-free with no side effects.