New form of vaccine therapy — for low-risk prostate cancer

According to a media report on the MarketWatch web site, a company called OncBioMune is to initiate Phase II clinical trials of a new type of prostate cancer vaccine (ProscaVax).

What is interesting in this report is that ProscaVax is apparently going to be tested as a vaccine to prevent the progression of prostate cancer in early stage, low-risk, localized prostate cancer. Here’s a link to the actual media release issued by OncBioMune.

According to the media release, ProscaVax is in very early stage development, with just 16 of a proposed 20 patients enrolled into a Phase Ia clinical trial. At this stage,

  • Clinical data have been analyzed on 12/16 patients
  • At 31 weeks after administration, ProscaVax treatment is said to have exhibited
    • “a meaningful impact in reducing the rise in PSA … levels” in 6/10 patients receiving six vaccinations
    • “an increased immune response” in 8/9 patients
  • No ProscaVax-related adverse events have been observed during the trial, to date.

The company further states that it is now planning to initiate two, separate Phase II clinical trials, one of which will be carried out at “one of the world’s leading university hospital networks located in the Northeast U.S.”

Additional information about ProscaVax is available on the OncBioMune web site.

If one is going to treat this type of early stage prostate cancer that may not even need treatment, then the ideal way to do it is clearly with some sort of vaccine therapy that has no (or at least near to no) significant risk for side effects. Whether such a vaccine can actually stop the progression of this type of cancer and prove that it has done so in randomized clinical trials may be challenging, however.

2 Responses

  1. Coincidentally, a different immunotherapy, ProstAtak, has just started recruiting for a randomized clinical trial in Mexico City. They are testing its usefulness in active surveillance. It is already in clinical trials in the US as an adjunct to radiation in intermediate- and high-risk men, as you previously reported.

    I wonder if these novel agents do any better than finasteride (which is much less expensive) at increasing the time to radical therapy for men on active surveillance.

  2. Well … they’d better, ‘cos otherwise I can’t see why anyone would be willing to pay what they are liable to cost.

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