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New trial launched at Surrey Cancer Research Institute to test cancer vaccine

A new vaccine, which aims to enable our immune systems to fight against advanced cancer, is due to be trialled at the University of Surrey.

Scientists from King's College London, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and The University of Surrey are testing the effectiveness and safety of a new vaccine that works by replicating the body’s natural immune responses against bacterial and viral infections.

The vaccine could have applications in the fight against cancer as all patients with a solid tumour, irrespective of their type of cancer and the genetic profile of the tumour, could potentially benefit from this type of treatment.

One of the trial centres for this research will be the Surrey Cancer Research Institute (SCRI) at the University of Surrey, which is expected to commence patient recruitment later this year.

The Centre will be the second to trial this new vaccine, as the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) have already vaccinated two patients in a trial at Guy’s and St Thomas' Clinical Research Facility, part of the NIHR Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre (BRC).

The trial aims to establish the benefits of the vaccination programme, any side effects associated with it and the impact that this treatment may have on patients’ quality of life. Researchers are hoping that the results will bring them one step closer to developing an effective but non-toxic cancer therapy for use in clinical practice.

The clinical teams are being led by Dr James Spicer, Principal Investigator at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre, and Professor Hardev Pandha, Professor of Medical Oncology and Head of the Oncology Programme at University of Surrey, from the Surrey Cancer Research Institute.

Professor Pandha said, “We know that the immune system in patients with advanced cancer is supressed, so it’s unable to recognise and kill cancer cells. In this trial we are investigating a form of immunotherapy designed to activate the body’s immune system by administration of a vaccine based on fragments of a key cancer protein.”

Should the trial prove that the vaccine is effective and well tolerated by the patients currently undergoing treatment, the trial will expand in order to further assess its effectiveness with a larger number of patients.

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