Sanofi Pasteur begins melanoma vaccine trial

Sanofi pasteur is mounting a mid-stage trial involving 120 patients at 23 centers to test the efficacy of a new melanoma vaccine. The vaccine uses a modified canarypox virus containing the genes for five antigens that induce an immune response to melanoma tumors. These antigens stimulate T-cells within the immune system to zero in on melanoma cells, and are expected to halt or slow cancer progression. The vaccine also contains the genes for three proteins called co-stimulatory molecules, which increase the immune response of T-cells to the antigens. In addition to the vaccine, patients in the trial will be treated with two other agents that augment the immune response: GM-CSF and interferon-alpha-2b.

"The MEL11 study uses an entirely new treatment approach to advanced-stage melanoma," said Teresa Petrella, MD, a researcher at the Odette Cancer Centre at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto and the lead investigator of the trial. "The study protocol combines the use of a vaccine with more traditional anti-cancer agents to bolster the effectiveness of the immune system. Melanoma is an increasing concern in the cancer community; its incidence is on the rise and there are very few available treatment options."

- read the release from Sanofi