Donald Morton, who has been a main protagonist for vaccine therapy in the USAA for some years, reviewed the subject at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and was more sanguine about the subject than many expected.
For the last few years the ‘Morton Vaccine’ has received the hard sell campaign from those seeking to know more about the vaccine programmes. However, when asked to objectively review the subject Morton writes:
“The most extensively studied melanoma vaccines are whole-cell or cell-lysate formulations, containing multiple antigens and purified antigen preparations containing one or two antigens capable of stimulating an antigenic response in the melanoma patient. Unfortunately, immune responses to particular antigens have not consistently translated into clinical responses or a survival advantage. Although better definition or candidate tumour cell antigens has improved the design of melanoma vaccines, the optimal antigenic profile of univalent or polyvalent preparation remains unclear. Novel approaches to vaccine design using gene transfection, dendritic cells and cytokines are promising strategies that must be carefully studied in clinical trials.”
At present the subject of vaccine therapy must remain a subject of clinical trails and patients are to be careful before enrolling for vaccine therapy outside a properly conducted trial.