Study: Cancer vaccine prolongs survival in difficult-to-treat tumour disease

According to a new study, a combination of a cancer vaccine from Norwegian company Ultimovacs and two immunotherapies significantly prolonged survival in cases of the aggressive cancer mesothelioma.

On Tuesday evening, Ultimovacs revealed results from a phase II study with the company’s cancer vaccine UV1.

The study included 118 patients with the rare but aggressive form of cancer mesothelioma.

Participants were randomised to receive either the checkpoint inhibitors ipilimumab and nivolumab from Bristol-Myers Squibb or the same two drugs plus eight intradermal injections of UV1. Study participants were treated for up to two years.

The results showed a 27% reduction in the risk of mortality for patients who received both the checkpoint inhibitors and the cancer vaccine, according to Ultimovacs. Overall survival in the group receiving the vaccine was 15.4 months, compared to 11.1 months in the other group, which are statistically significant results.

“The results are encouraging and provide a basis for advancing further clinical development with UV1 vaccination in mesothelioma patients,” said principal investigator Åslaug Helland in a press release.

Mesothelioma is a difficult-to-treat cancer with a poor prognosis that arises in the mesothelium, for example, in the air sacs.

“This is an extremely demanding type of cancer, a field where very many have tried and very few have made progress,” says Anne Worsøe, Head of Investor Relations at Ultimovacs, to Norwegian MedWatch.

The study is still unpublished and, therefore, not yet peer-reviewed, and the results will be presented at the Esmo Cancer Congress in Madrid this week.

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