Doctors at MSKCC have pledged to radically change the outlook of this cancer in the coming decade. They want to fire up both the active and the passive immune defense systems the young body has, in the brutal battle against cancer – boosting their chances of cure beyond 50 percent. They are excited by the results of a phase I clinical trial of oral barley glucan when combined with monoclonal antibodies. The follow-up study using glucan derived from baker’s yeast is near completion. While antibodies provide passive protection, vaccines can train the body to carry out tumor surveillance for life, never letting the cancer to fall under the radar.
The Soupy for Loopy Foundation is providing partial support for a clinical trial led by doctors at MSKCC, which combines tumor vaccines with beta-glucan in patients with neuroblastoma. Building on the success of monoclonal antibodies, the doctors asked a simple question: what if we use tumor vaccines to train the patient to make antibodies on their own? Unlike chemotherapy and radiation therapy, these vaccines are better tolerated in children, with few long term side effects to date. Most reassuring is the simplicity of its administration, requiring only seven shots given over one year, without the need for hospitalizations, catheters, or transfusions. As the trial moves forward, these vaccines can be made readily available for broader applications in patients around the world.
Few clinical trials have tested vaccines against cancers in children and adolescents. This trial is one of the first for children with neuroblastoma, using complex sugars linked to strong stimulators of the immune system. The trial pioneers the 3-in-1 concept, where three different vaccines are combined into one. With this, a much better quality of anti-cancer immunity is expected. This trial takes one extra step to supercharge the white cells using orally administered beta glucan.
Funds will partially support a clinical trial led by doctors at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, which combines tumor vaccines with beta-glucan in patients with neuroblastoma. This trial is one of the first for children with neuroblastoma, using complex sugars linked to strong stimulators of the immune system.
Photo courtesy of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
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