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NHS to Launch Trial Offering Thousands Access to “Ground-breaking” Cancer Vaccines

Thousands of patients will soon have access to innovative cancer vaccines as part of an NHS trial. A new “match-making” service called the Cancer Vaccine Launch Pad (CVLP) will match patients with suitable trials. The Southampton Clinical Trials Unit (SCTU) at the University of Southampton has been selected to lead the project.

This new NHS England programme aims to accelerate research into personalized cancer vaccines, a type of immunotherapy that enhances the body’s immune system to identify and destroy cancer cells.

Professor Simon Crabb, clinical director at SCTU, stated that the scheme will “bring together different academic and industry partners developing cancer vaccines and allow patients across England to access trials of treatments that may not have previously been an option for them.”

Ali Richards, 63, from Poole in Dorset, participated in a previous cancer vaccine trial after her head and neck cancer returned following initial treatment. She praised the new approach: “Traditional treatments are not kind by their nature, and anything that can make treatment more simple, more effective, less invasive, has got to be a good thing.”

These vaccines are created by analyzing a patient’s tumor and using that information to craft a vaccine tailored to the individual. Professor Gareth Griffiths, director of the Cancer Research UK SCTU, emphasized the potential of cancer vaccines to improve treatment, particularly for cancers with limited or demanding treatment options.

Personalized vaccines aim to create an immune ‘memory’ that can prevent cancer from returning after surgery or chemotherapy. The first trial will test a vaccine developed by biotech company BioNTech SE.

Sources: BBC

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