Dr. Zhang on Challenges With Vaccines in Renal Cell Carcinoma

Tian Zhang, MD
Published: Friday, Jan 27, 2017



Tian Zhang, MD, a medical instructor in the Department of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, discusses some of the challenges associated with administering vaccines to patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

One of the main challenges in vaccine development is selecting tumor antigens versus personalizing and targeting them to the patient, explains Zhang. Additionally, she says that the bar continues to get higher and higher for first-line treatment of patients with metastatic RCC. Thus, in both ongoing trials and in the design of future studies, first-line therapies and their corresponding comparison arms will continue to change.

Zhang also emphasizes the importance of choosing the appropriate disease state in which to use the vaccine. Questions remain about whether to introduce vaccines in the adjuvant setting or in the first-line setting for metastatic disease.

She goes on to ask whether vaccines are somewhat of a lost cause, or if they represent a step forward in the treatment landscape of RCC. As researchers in the field continue to get better at designing these vaccines, Zhang says this is likely a step forward in improving immunotherapy for the treatment of patients with kidney cancer.


Tian Zhang, MD, a medical instructor in the Department of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, discusses some of the challenges associated with administering vaccines to patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

One of the main challenges in vaccine development is selecting tumor antigens versus personalizing and targeting them to the patient, explains Zhang. Additionally, she says that the bar continues to get higher and higher for first-line treatment of patients with metastatic RCC. Thus, in both ongoing trials and in the design of future studies, first-line therapies and their corresponding comparison arms will continue to change.

Zhang also emphasizes the importance of choosing the appropriate disease state in which to use the vaccine. Questions remain about whether to introduce vaccines in the adjuvant setting or in the first-line setting for metastatic disease.

She goes on to ask whether vaccines are somewhat of a lost cause, or if they represent a step forward in the treatment landscape of RCC. As researchers in the field continue to get better at designing these vaccines, Zhang says this is likely a step forward in improving immunotherapy for the treatment of patients with kidney cancer.

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