Therapeutic Cancer Vaccine Research Making Gains
Research into therapeutic cancer vaccines has begun to "show promising results and attract the investments" of large pharmaceutical companies, although the "field remains risky" and no such vaccines have received regulatory approval, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Therapeutic cancer vaccines, a number of which have reached late-stage clinical trials, prompt the immune system to attack tumor cells and avoid healthy cells, and they could help prevent cancer relapses when used in conjunction with radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy and have fewer side effects than current treatments.
According to Arrowhead Publishers, a research company, therapeutic cancer vaccines could have annual sales of about $6 billion by 2010.
Haakan Mellstedt, a professor of oncological biotherapy at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, said that, although research into therapeutic cancer vaccines is difficult and expensive, recent trials have indicated some progress. Mellstedt said, "There are possibilities here, and now the big companies are starting to be interested, but they haven't had the courage before because it has been too risky for them" (Rising, Wall Street Journal, 9/13).