14 April 2017 Vol 356, Issue 6334
Personalized tumor vaccines keep cancer in check
By Jocelyn Kaiser
Science14 Apr 2017 : 122 Restricted Access
A new approach enlists a tumor’s own mutated proteins.
A new approach to fighting cancer that tailors a vaccine to mutated proteins in an individual’s tumor is gaining traction. In two small clinical trials, a personalized vaccine appears to have helped prevent early relapses in a total of 12 people with skin cancer. These “neoantigen” vaccines also may have helped several others by boosting the power of a new type of cancer drug that uses a different mechanism to unleash an immune attack on the tumor. The two studies, one presented last week at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Washington, D.C., are promising. But larger trials will be needed to show whether the vaccines help extend the lives of cancer patients.