Dr. Link on Algenpantucel-L for Pancreatic Cancer
Charles J. Link, Jr, MD, from the Cancer Center of Iowa and NewLink Genetics, discusses the phase II trial of algenpantucel-L for pancreatic cancer.
Algenpantucel-L is a whole cell allogeneic vaccine, meaning that it does not come from a patient, but is rather engineered in a laboratory. In the human body exists a carbohydrate that the immune system recognizes as a danger signal and attacks it with pre-existing antibodies. The technology, Link says, genetically engineers the carbohydrate into human cancer cells to trigger the pre-existing immune responses and educate the body against pancreatic cancer.
The phase II trial dictated that 64 patients were followed for at least three years across 10 institutions. Typically, Link says, one could expect 16-18% of patients with pancreatic cancer to be alive after three years. Data from this study show that 39% of patients survived, with two-thirds having no recurrence of disease.
These data became the basis for the phase III trial, which launched in May 2010.