Roswell Park Makes Cancer Vaccine Announcement
January 26, 2012
BUFFALO, NY - Roswell Park Cancer Institute held a press conference this morning to announce the development of an investigational cancer vaccine.
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Officials from Roswell were on hand to highlight what the vaccine can do. They say the NY-ESO-1 dendritic cell vaccine has the potential to "eradicate cancer cells and prevent disease relapse."
The new NY-ESO-1 dendritic cell vaccine is expected to show great promise in patients with bladder, brain, breast, esophageal, gastrointestinal, hepatocellular, kidney, lung, melanoma, ovarian, prostate, sarcoma and uterine tumors.
Not only will the vaccine be administered here in Buffalo, but it will also be manufactured here. Doctors say the development of the vaccine is very encouraging and it has minimal side effects.
The NY-ESO-1 vaccine, tailor-made for each patient, will be produced in RPCI's Therapeutic Cell Production Facility. Dr. Christopher Choi, director of the facility, says this is the first government-regulated study of its kind and it's the first time the vaccine will be tested in a hospital setting rather than in a medical lab. "We believe that our facility's custom-made barrier isolator, the unit in which the vaccines are manufactured, is the first of its kind," said Choi.
"This trial will be only the beginning of a very robust program of activity in the area of using the human immune system to fight cancer," said Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, director of RPCI's Center for Immunotherapy (CFI) and the study's principal investigator. "Our production process holds tremendous potential for applications related to stem-cell therapy and regenerative medicine."
The announcement of this cancer vaccine has Western New York's medical community talking, including Erie County's new health commissioner.
Dr. Gale Burstein's first day on the job was just Monday, having been appointed by new Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. Dr. Burstein says since her focus as health commissioner is preventioner, this news is monumental. "Unfortunately we don't have the tools or the resources to effectively eradicate all cancers, and that's why we still have cancer. But to have this opportunity, a therapeutic vaccine to not only treat cancer, but to prevent relapse, it's a huge opportunity for us to really improve people's health and make them happier and healthier and have a longer lifespan," says Dr. Burstein.
Dr. Burstein adds it is about time the U.S. healthcare system start recognizing the talent at Roswell Park and the entire downtown medical corridor.