An experimental vaccine to treat advanced melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, proved effective in a late-stage study. According to an article reported by Reuters, the vaccine shrank tumors that were both injected directly by the drug and those around the body that were not injected.
The drug, known as T-vec, is an engineered virus meant to replicate inside the injected tumor, killing cancer cells there as well as prime the immune system to attack other cancer cells in the body. The vaccine, produced by Amgen Inc., released data last year from a study showing that T-vec succeeded in demonstrating a significant tumor response that lasted at least six months.
Research Show Tumors Shrinking with T-Vec Injections
The latest data analyzed 4,000 tumor lesions to study the response to the drug in injected versus non-injected tumors. Of the directly injected tumors, 64 percent shrank by at least half, and 47 percent of those had a complete response, meaning the lesion had disappeared, researchers said. Of the uninjected lesions in the skin or lymph nodes, known as non-visceral tumor lesions, 34 percent shrank by at least half with a complete response seen in 21 percent of those.
Amgen said it expects to have further data in the first half of this year showing whether T-vec ultimately helped patients in the study to live longer. The company has not yet said when it will apply for approval of the medicine.