- August 18, 2010 at 12:46 am
I have spoken with GSK, the company doing the study, about this and it sounds interesting to me. It is a vaccine study, and is sometimes referred to with the term MAGE-A3. The idea is to use tumor tissue to create an antigenic agent that will stimulate the body's immune system to attack residual tumor cells.
The study focuses on patients for whom observation is the standard of care, and is divided into an arm that receives the vaccine and a group that receives placebo. Using placebo in cancer trials is rare, but is acceptable in this case because the standard of care is observation.
I like that it offers some possible treatment for people who are told not to have any further treatment, but who feel as though they want to do something.
I also like that it is a vaccine. Most vaccines haven't worked in melanoma, but some are now showing a bit of promise. Some data released a few months ago suggest that every melanoma cell acts like a stem cell and can form a new tumor. If that is the case, then having the immune system set up to sweep out remaining tumor cells is not a bad thing.