A researcher holds a cancer vaccine vial.

mRNA vaccine promising for pancreatic cancer

In small study, half of treated patients experience an immune response.

By Mike Bassett, MedPage Today

A personalized mRNA vaccine, used in combination with an immune checkpoint inhibitor and chemotherapy after surgery, induced an immune response in half of treated patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), a small phase I trial showed.

At a median follow-up of 18 months after surgery, eight patients who had immune responses to autogene cevumeran had significantly longer recurrence-free survival (not reached) compared with a median of 13.4 months in the eight patients who had no response (HR 0.08, 95% CI 0.01-0.40, P=0.003), reported Vinod Balachandran, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues.

“Despite the limited sample size, these early results warrant larger studies of individualized mRNA neoantigen vaccines in PDAC,” they wrote in Nature.

One patient also showed evidence of a vaccine-induced response in the liver after developing an unusual 7-mm lesion there. That growth disappeared on subsequent imaging, suggesting that “autogene cevumeran-expanded T cells may possess the capacity to eradicate micrometastases,” Balachandran and team noted. Read more …