I just read a fascinating article about a man who enrolled into a multiple myeloma vaccine trial. Long story short; he no longer needs to take any treatment for his multiple myeloma. I also saw a few papers claiming that their vaccine has stabilized the MM in their clinical trial patients, and in some cases, even brought them to a complete remission! These trials, mostly in phase 1, were concluded last year. These results looked so promising, I had to do a little research of my own.
So what is a vaccine and how does a vaccine for multiple myeloma work?
Think of the vaccine for the measles. The measles is a virus. A vaccine for the measles is essentially a weakened or impotent form of the virus. Once injected into the body, one’s own immune system has time to mount a response against this intruder. The body produces antibodies that are especially formulated to “tag” the intruder to destruction. The body is usually pretty good at remembering intruders but not in all cases. This is why booster shots need to be given so that the body can be periodically reminded what an intruder looks like so that should an actual, viable virus enter the body, it can be destroyed before it reeks any havok.
Now in the case of Multiple Myeloma, these are natural, human cells that have gotten a little out of control. How is the body supposed to recognize itself as an intruder? It is challenging but there are some unique aspects of multiple myeloma plasma cells such as specific proteins that sit on the cell surface. Various cell surface markers, channels and protein precursors are all potential targets under investigation.
So what have the results of multiple myeloma vaccine trials been?
I did a VERY CURSORY review of the results of 9 MM vaccine clinical which have been published since 2006 (at least according to Pub Med) and the results were as follows:
- 44% of the published trials had results that looked promising – more than 50% of the patients came out better then they were going into the trial
- 22% of trials resulted in half of the patients benefiting, and half not benefiting
- 33% of trials showed results that more than half of the patients did not benefit from the vaccine(s) being tested
What are some multiple myeloma vaccine trials that are open and accruing?
I just checked on clinicaltrials.gov and there are currently 15 clinical trials that are open and recruiting for Multiple Myeloma vaccine trials. So there is some exciting promise it seems with MM vaccines. If you have multiple myeloma or know someone who does, enrolling into these trials might not only do you some good, but you might help the MM community find a cure!
For general Multiple Myeloma Clinical Trials: Check this link: https://myeloma.trialx.com/
- List of Multiple Myeloma Clinical Trials, Treatments under Development and Investigators
- Looking for Multiple Myeloma Clinical Trials? Head over to the MMRF!
- What is Multiple Myeloma, what causes Multiple Myeloma and where to look for Multiple Myeloma clinical trials
- Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) and Astellas Pharma Global Development Enter Joint Collaboration to Accelerate Multiple Myeloma Drug Development
- Multiple Myeloma Clinical Trials in India and China