Experimental vaccine aimed at improving ovarian cancer survival rates

March 2, 2012 By Amanda Harper, University of Cincinnati

An experimental vaccine study currently under way at the UC Cancer Institute aims to prevent ovarian cancer recurrence by triggering the body’s natural defense system.

Offered exclusively through UC Health in the Greater Cincinnati area, this phase-2 clinical trial is open to women who have undergone treatment for ovarian, fallopian tube or peritoneal cancer and are currently in remission (cancer-free). 

Sponsored by the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Gynecologic Oncology Group, this is the first large-scale study in ovarian cancer to test a live vaccine that stimulates the body to produce substances to protect it. About 200 patients are expected to participate from across the United States. NCI estimates nearly 22,000 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer and nearly 15,500 women died from the disease in 2011.

"The odds that a woman with ovarian cancer will relapse is almost 100 percent, so anything we can do to reduce that risk and prolong survival is critically important,” says W. Edward Richards, MD, a UC Health gynecologic oncologist/surgeon and gynecologic oncology division director at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. 

Patients enrolled to this trial will be given a series of vaccinations over the course of two years. 

Given as an injection under the skin, the ovarian cancer-specific vaccine introduces antigens found in many —particularly in the ovaries, fallopian tubes and peritoneal cavity—that will then circulate throughout the body and serve as cellular targets the immune system could then recognize as abnormal and destroy.

"Cancer is insidious partially because the body’s natural doesn’t recognize the cancer cells as abnormal, allowing the cancer to go unchecked by the body’s defense system,” explains Richards, who serves as principal investigator of the Cincinnati arm of the study. "This specific vaccine was designed to help the immune system recognize the cancer cells as abnormal—which it currently does not.”

Researchers believe that if the is stimulated to respond—via a medication or vaccine—to recognize these cancer cells as abnormal, it might help reduce the risk for .

Patients interested in participating in the study should call 513-584-5044 to request a screening appointment at the UC Health outpatient location in Clifton or West Chester. To learn more about the trial, visit .gov. 

UC Health Gynecology Oncology is currently recruiting participants for numerous clinical trials looking at new treatment options for gynecologic cancers. This includes diseases that involve the cervix, ovaries, uterus, and vulva. Richards and his colleagues Heather Pulaski, MD, and Thomas Reid, MD, specialize in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery procedures, including robotic surgery.

Explore further: Mayo Clinic receives FDA approval for ovarian and breast cancer vaccines

Related Stories

Mayo Clinic receives FDA approval for ovarian and breast cancer vaccines

August 17, 2011
Mayo Clinic has received investigational new drug approval from the Food and Drug Administration for two new cancer vaccines that mobilize the body's defense mechanisms to destroy malignant cells. The vaccines are among the ...

New drug combination slows tumor growth for recurrent ovarian cancer

June 6, 2011
Bevacizumab (Avastin) in combination with chemotherapy resulted in a clinical benefit for patients with recurrent ovarian cancer, according to a new study. Results from the phase III "OCEANS" trial were presented today by ...

Faulty proteins may prove significant in identifying new treatments for ovarian cancer

January 13, 2012
A constellation of defective proteins suspected in causing a malfunction in the body's ability to repair its own DNA could be the link scientists need to prove a new class of drugs will be effective in treating a broad range ...

Vaccine for metastatic breast, ovarian cancer shows promise

November 8, 2011
Treatment with a recombinant poxviral vaccine showed a positive response in both metastatic breast cancer and ovarian cancer, according to a trial published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association ...

Recommended for you

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

Researchers develop swallowable test to detect pre-cancerous Barrett's esophagus

January 17, 2018
Investigators at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center have developed a simple, swallowable test for early detection of Barrett's esophagus that offers promise ...

Scientists zoom in to watch DNA code being read

January 17, 2018
Scientists have unveiled incredible images of how the DNA code is read and interpreted—revealing new detail about one of the fundamental processes of life.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.