El objetivo de las vacunas terapéuticas contra el cáncer es despertar las defensas del paciente para que reconozcan las células tumorales y así poder combatir la enfermedad con armas que son propias del organismo.

No apuntan a prevenirlo, sino a poner el sistema inmunológico en pie de guerra contra el mal.

Cáncer de pulmón, de cerebro, melanoma y linfoma son algunas de las afecciones oncológicas que, en la actualidad, cuentan con vacunas experimentales que están cada vez más cerca de llegar a los pacientes.

En la 45ª reunión científica anual de la Sociedad Americana del Cáncer (ASCO, según sus siglas en inglés), de Estados Unidos, que acaba de finalizar en esta ciudad, se presentaron nuevos estudios que confirman la eficacia y seguridad de estas futuras vacunas, consignó el diario La Nación.

Stimuvax, o vacuna liposómica BLP25, se encuentra actualmente atravesando un estudio de fase III (previo a su aprobación por parte de las agencias regulatorias de fármacos) en 1300 pacientes con cáncer de pulmón de células no pequeñas en los que no es posible extirpar quirúrgicamente el tumor.

Fueron presentados los resultados del seguimiento de más de 8 años del estudio de fase II, que confirma la seguridad a largo plazo de la vacuna que enseña al sistema inmunológico a reconocer la proteína MUC1, presente en la superficie de las células tumorales.

Ese estudio halló que la vacuna había aumentado la sobrevida de los pacientes de 13,3 a 30,6 meses.

«Hay una gran necesidad no satisfecha en el tratamiento del cáncer de pulmón de células pequeñas avanzado: no más del 20% de los pacientes tiene una sobrevida mayor que 5 años», declaró el doctor Charles Butts, de la Universidad de Alberta, Canadá, autor principal del estudio.

«Si hallamos una eficacia y seguridad similar en el estudio de fase III, y Stimuvax es aprobada, tendremos un nuevo abordaje terapéutico para los pacientes con esta devastadora enfermedad», afirmó.


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