The results are promising. For each patient, the immune system recognized three of the seven neoantigens contained in the vaccines. As a result, patients that received the vaccines produced more cancer-fighting T cells and, more importantly, produced more different kinds of T cells. This is kind of a big deal, the researchers say; it means that cancer patients have a potentially rich pool of tumor-specific immune cells that stay dormant — unless they're activated by a vaccine. "Our team is very encouraged by the quality of the immune response directed against the melanoma neoantigens in all three patients," says Gerald Linette, a co-author of the study and an oncologist at Washington University.
April 3, 2015 at 2:32 PM EDT