British Indian doctor to undertake ‘ground-breaking’ cancer vaccine trial
The trial, announced recently, will be run by the Cancer Research UK Southampton Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Southampton. | Representative image: iStock

British Indian doctor to undertake ‘ground-breaking’ cancer vaccine trial

London, Feb 4 (PTI) A British Indian doctor is the chief investigator of a “ground-breaking” trial of a vaccine to treat early bowel cancer for patients worldwide, following a UK-Australia collaboration between scientists and doctors.

Dr Tony Dhillon, a Consultant Medical Oncologist at the Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust, proposed the idea for the trial and has worked with Professor Tim Price in Australia for the last four years to develop the vaccine.

The trial, announced recently, will be run by the Cancer Research UK Southampton Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Southampton in collaboration with Royal Surrey and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide, Australia.

“This is the first treatment vaccine in any gastrointestinal cancer and we have high hopes that it will be very successful. We think that for a lot of patients, the cancer will have gone completely after this treatment,” said Dr Dhillon.

“This is ground-breaking. I feel as if we are on the edge of something really big here. The vaccine makes the immune system go after the cancer. It will be life-changing because it means that potentially, patients may not need to have surgery – they may just have the vaccine,” he said.

There will be 10 sites for patients to be enrolled – six in Australia and four in the UK, with 44 patients to be enrolled in the study over an 18-month period.

The vaccine will be used to treat patients before surgery, in the hope that it will cause the body to attack the cancer. It would mean any surgery would be less invasive. It is also hoped that the strength of the vaccine could support the immune system to respond if there is a relapse and the cancer returns later on.

“We are hugely proud to have been involved in the launch of this ground-breaking new vaccine. As the fourth-largest cancer centre in the UK, helping to fight cancer is a huge part of what we do and this will really provide an opportunity for bowel cancer patients and give them real hope of beating the disease,” said Louise Stead, Royal Surrey Foundation Trust Chief Executive.

Patients will have an endoscopy, and then a tissue sample will be tested to see if they are eligible for the trial. If they are, they will have three doses of the vaccine before having surgery to remove the cancer.

The trial will be available for just 44 patients around the world. After the trial finishes, the vaccine will either be licensed for use or if it’s successful, a bigger study will be carried out.

Bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is the third most common cancer, with a worldwide annual incidence of over 1.2 million cases and a mortality rate of approximately 50 per cent.

The vaccine has been designed by Imugene Ltd, a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company. PTI

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)
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