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Therapeutic vaccines for cancer and the role of immunomodulatory drugs

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Cancer vaccines have been in trials for decades but only this year did the first one (for humans) get approved by the FDA . How come so many good phase 2 studies fail to be repeated in a randomised phase 3 trial? Data from a number of studies suggest that non responders are more likely to have high inflammatory markers than responders and that these patients should be excluded from such trials. Pre treatment with anti-inflammatories may convert non responders to responders. Some of these drugs such as the thalidomide analogues (Revlimid) and Gemzar have marked activity on suppressor and regulatory cells. Other chemotherapy agents may also have favourable effects on the immune system and enhance vaccine responses and not inhibit them as previously thought.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminar Programme, Department of Veterinary Medicine series.

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