BIDMC's Cancer Vaccine Program is one of the largest cancer vaccine and cellular immunotherapy programs throughout the world. Immunotherapy Institute Co-Director Dr. David Avigan, Deputy Director Jacalyn Rosenblatt and colleagues developed a personalized, patient-specific vaccine created from the patients’ own tumors hybridized with potent immune stimulatory cells, dendritic cells. A broad array of self and neo-antigens are presented in the context of dendritic cell mediated co-stimulation.
In phase I/II clinical trials of patients with blood cancers, vaccination results in the potent expansion of tumor specific T cells in the blood and bone marrow. Notably, vaccination-induced disease regression and protection from relapse in patients with multiple myeloma and acute leukemia, respectively.
Based on these encouraging data, the fusion vaccine was chosen to be the first cellular immunotherapy to be studied in a multicenter cooperative group study. The national transplant study for myeloma is a first-of-its-kind collaborative effort to examine the immunologic and clinical impact of cellular therapy. Led by BIDMC, the study involves leaders in the field of cancer immunotherapy from across the US. Furthermore, this multicenter trial offers a unique platform to fully understand myeloma-specific immunity and correlate these findings with clinical outcomes.