Personalised cancer vaccine is a 'landmark moment', as thousands set to trial it

By John Mercury May 31, 2024

A personalised cancer vaccine jab that could help prevent the illness returning after surgery, has been given to a patient for the first time in what’s been called a “landmark moment” for people who have the disease.

Elliot Pfebve, a bowel cancer patient, was referred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham for chemotherapy and to take part in the clinical trial after having a 30cm tumour removed from his large intestine.

How do cancer vaccines work?

Mr Pfebve, a 55-year-old father-of-four, discovered he had the illness during a routine health check with his GP.

Undated handout photo issued by NHS England of Elliot Pfebve (centre), with (left to right) research sister Hayley Rolfe, colorectal cancer support worker Keely Holloway, oncology consultant Dr Victoria Kunene, oncology consultant Dr Mark Openshaw and research sister Zoe Haygarth. Mr Pfebve, 55, is the first patient in England to have been treated with a personalised vaccine for his bowel cancer, which was administered at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, and is designed to stimulate a patie
Image:
Mr Pfebve (centre), with the team that treated him. Pic: PA/NHS England

The higher education lecturer said: “Taking part in this trial tallies with my profession and as a community-centred person.

“I want to impact other people’s lives positively and help them realise their potential. This trial, if it is successful, it may help thousands, if not millions, of people, so they can have hope and may not experience all I have gone through.”

Thousands of other NHS cancer patients in England will be recruited to take part in vaccine trials for various forms of cancer in the coming years as part of a new scheme, officials have said.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Skin cancer cases hit record high

The vaccine, created using mRNA technology and developed by biopharmaceutical companies BioNTech and Genentech, works by looking for specific mutations in a patient’s tumour, with clinicians using the information to create a personalised treatment.

Undated handout photo issued by NHS England of research sister Ria De Leon, oncology consultant Dr Victoria Kunene, and research sister Hayley Rolfe, Research Sister. Elliot Pfebve, 55, is the first patient in England to have been treated with a personalised vaccine for his bowel cancer, which was administered at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, and is designed to stimulate a patient's immune system after surgery to remove tumours so it can recognise and attack any remaining cancer cells. I
Image:
Research sister Ria De Leon, oncology consultant Dr Victoria Kunene, and research sister Hayley Rolfe. Pic: PA/NHS England

The jab is designed to stimulate a patient’s immune system after surgery to remove tumours so it can recognise and attack any remaining cancer cells.

Dr Victoria Kunene, a consultant clinical oncologist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and principal investigator for the trial, said it could be a “significant and positive development for patients”.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Ex-footballer attempts world record

But Dr Kunene warned it’s “too early yet to say if these [trials] will be successful, though we are extremely hopeful”.

The trial that Mr Pfebve took part in is one of several that will be taking place at NHS trusts across the country, after 30 hospitals signed up to be involved in the NHS England’s Cancer Vaccine Launch Pad.

It could expand to include patients with other cancers such as pancreatic and lung cancer, NHS England said.

Read more:
Skin cancer cases at an all-time high
Patients waiting too long for cancer treatment
Proteins in blood ‘could warn of cancer’

NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “Seeing Elliot receive his first treatment as part of the Cancer Vaccine Launch Pad is a landmark moment for patients and the health service as we seek to develop better and more effective ways to stop this disease.”

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

Professor Peter Johnson, national clinical director for cancer at the NHS, said the vaccine may allow clinicians to prevent cancer tumours returning after surgery.

Trials have enrolled dozens of people, NHS England said, with the majority expected to take part from 2026 onwards.

Iain Foulkes, from Cancer Research UK, said the vaccine could be “a game changer in preventing the onset or return of bowel cancer”.

source

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *