A new GVAX vaccine is being used in a clinical trial for myeloma patients who have achieved good responses to therapy. The goal of the trial is to extend remissions and potentially deepen responses to a minimal residual disease (MRD) negative state.
This vaccine was tested earlier in Phase I studies by Dr. Ivan Borrello at Johns Hopkins. In the Phase I study, patients who had transplant and then received the vaccine had longer progression free survival than patients who did not receive the vaccine.
A Phase II study is now underway with a treatment arm including the GVAX vaccine, a Prevnar vaccine and Revlimid. The other arm will include Revlimid only.
Patients can join the study if they have received myeloma treatment and had a good response to therapy. Patients can also join if they are over a year out from stem cell transplant (as transplant can modify the immune system), even if they had the transplant a long time ago. The trial requires a patient to also be on Revlimid because it enhances the immune system, although patients can be on low doses of Revlimid.
The vaccine is given on a monthly basis for 3 months. Then a vaccine booster is given 6 months later, 1 year later and an additional year after that, so approximately 36 months worth of vaccine treatment.
The vaccine has no major side effects. It is not meant to treat large burdens of myeloma, only to extend remissions. Patients can be in “remission” but need to be MRD positive (or have detectable disease through MRD testing).
Syed Abbas, MD, MBBS is the lead investigator of the study and joined the Myeloma Crowd at the recent ASH conference to share more in a video. To learn more about joining this study, watch the video or find this trial on SparkCures.