New Moderna mRNA vaccine cuts skin cancer recurrence by nearly half
Calling it "a potential major breakthrough," researchers said the experimental vaccine, when combined with Merck’s blockbuster immunotherapy Keytruda, could prolong the time patients have.
In this July 9, 2018, photo, beach-goers huddle under beach umbrellas on the sand in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
April 17 (UPI) -- The risk of recurrence of deadly skin cancer reduced by nearly half when patients were treated with a mRNA vaccine developed by Moderna and Merck & Co.'s immunotherapy Keytruda drug, according to a new study.
The findings, published Sunday, show that 44% of patients who received the combination therapy reduced the risk of recurrence compared to those who only received Keytruda.
The research showed that nearly 79% of the 107 patients who received the mRNA vaccine in combination with Keytruda were cancer free after 18 months compared to just 62% of the 50 patients who were treated solely with Keytruda. All patients were either diagnosed with stage three or stage four melanoma.
The researchers continue that the rate of recurrence or death was 22.4% in the group who received both medications compared to 40% of patients who received Keytruda alone with a median follow-up of 23 and 24 months, respectively.
"Today's results provide further encouragement for the potential of mRNA as an individualized neoantigen therapy to positively impact patients with high-risk resected melanoma," Dr. Kyle Holen, Moderna's senior vice president and head of development, therapeutics and oncology, said in a statement.
"The profound observed reduction in the risk of recurrence-free survival suggests this combination may be a novel means of potentially extending the lives of patients with high-risk melanoma."
The results came in Phase Two of the trial, with adverse effects being similar to those seen in Phase One, with fatigue being reported by 60.6% of patients, injection site pain reported by nearly 60% and chills by half.
The companies plan to initiate a Phase Three trial later this year with adjuvant melanoma before expanding to additional tumor types, including non-small cell lung cancer, the companies said.Report a Typo
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