Scientists at the Moffitt Cancer Center are testing a new skin-cancer vaccine known as PV-10 that has been found in animal studies and early clinical trials to shrink tumors and reduce the spread of cancer by boosting natural defenses against the disease.
In a new report on PV-10 in the Public Library of Science Journal PLOS ONE, researcher said the single-injection vaccine could offer new hope to people with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
PV-10 is a solution developed by Provectus Pharmaceuticals Inc. from Rose Bengal, a water-soluble dye commonly used to stain damaged cells in the eye. Early clinical trials show it can boost the immune response to target melanoma tumors and the Moffit Cancer scientists believe it could revolutionize skin-cancer treatment.
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"Various injection therapies for melanoma have been examined over the past 40 years, but few have shown the promising results we are seeing with PV-10," said Shari Pilon-Thomas, assistant member of Moffitt's Immunology Program.
For the initial study, researchers injected a single dose of PV-10 into mice with melanoma. The results showed the vaccine produced a significant reduction in the skin cancer lesions, as well as a sizable reduction in melanoma tumors that had spread to the lungs.
The researchers said PV-10 works by producing an aggressive anti-tumor immune response and may be safer than existing immunological agents.
"We are currently in the middle of our first human clinical trial of PV-10 for advanced melanoma patients," said Amod A. Sarnaik, M.D., assistant member of Moffitt's Cutaneous Oncology Program. "In addition to monitoring the response of injected melanoma tumors, we are also measuring the boost in the anti-tumor immune cells of patients after injection."
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