Next-gen cancer vaccines take center stage

In the four months since Provenge won approval at the FDA, the R&D spotlight has turned a bright beam of light on new therapeutic cancer vaccines now in the pipeline. And William Chambers, director of clinical research and immunology at the American Cancer Society, notes that the advances being made now are the result of years of intensive effort.

"Immunotherapy has been a tough nut to crack," Chambers tells the Sun-Sentinel. "What you're seeing now is the product of a lot of hard work. Some of the successes are showing up."

One of those new therapies in TVAX, which, like Provenge, takes cells from a cancer patient and blends them into a drug designed to spur the immune system to fight off cancer. And it's being tested in terminal cancer patients with few alternative choices.

"Every tumor is unique from an immunologic standpoint, so the best responses are generated by the patient's own cancer," says immunologist Gary Wood, who's been working on the vaccine for 20 years at the University of Kansas Medical Center. "It took a while to simplify the manufacturing process to make it more available."

- here's the article from the Sun-Sentinel