July 8, 2020 14h57
A vaccine against cancer could combat the coronavirus
The canadian Press
MONTREAL – researchers from across Canada, including some at the CHUM, will try over the next few months to determine if a vaccine first developed to fight cancer may also fight respiratory infections, and, in particular, the COVID-19.
“(Whether) it could be a vaccine to increase the immune response against the COVID, and either have less severe infections, or just not be infected because we had an immune response”, summarised dr. David Roberge, a radiation oncologist, who will lead a portion of the study at the CHUM.
The study will apply specifically to patients who are currently diagnosed with cancer, since they seem to be particularly threatened by the coronavirus. Their risk of hospitalization or death due to the COVID would be up to three times higher than that of the general population.
In addition, treatments that oblige them often to break out of their containment to get to the hospital and a weakened immune system increase the risks of infection.
The treatment immune booster IMM-101 has been in development for several years as a treatment of cancer. It was found that it could contribute to activate certain immune cells and boost the immune system’s ability to destroy cancer cells.
How and why a vaccine against cancer could combat the coronavirus? Dr. Roberge draws a comparison with the BCG vaccine against tuberculosis, which is also the subject of several studies since it could prove useful in the fight against the COVID-19.
Researchers have discovered that the BCG vaccine causes an immune response in the global may protect against other infections. Preliminary data suggest that people who have been vaccinated with the BCG vaccine have less risk of having a symptomatic infection at COVID, he said.
“The mechanism by which it may help to treat cancer is the same as the mechanism by which it may help to treat or prevent the COVID, the doctor explained Roberge. It is a general stimulation of the immune system.”
If the study is successful, IMM-101 may also be beneficial for people with other chronic diseases or whose immune system is weakened, which exhibit also an increased risk that the outcome of the COVID-19 is serious. In addition, it could help protect cancer patients against other respiratory infections such as seasonal influenza.
This clinical trial is being conducted by the canadian Group of cancer trials (ECCG) and funded by the canadian cancer Society. The ECCG is a cooperative specialized research in the clinical trials on the treatment of cancer, which conducts clinical trials phases I-III in more than 80 institutions in Canada and abroad.
The study is intended for patients who are being treated for cancer and who have to go to the hospital for their treatments. Those who are interested to participate may write to: firstname.lastname@example.org