• Press Release

Researchers Identify Potential Formula for Blood Cancer Vaccine

  • New York, NY
  • (December 19, 2019)

Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have discovered a way to move precision immunotherapy forward by using genomics to inform immunotherapy for multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, according to a study published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, in December.

This is the first study to experimentally determine which byproducts from the mutation of tumors (known as neoantigens) have the ability to provoke the immune system into recognizing and killing cancer cells in multiple myeloma patients. The results provide the foundation for using neoantigen-targeting strategies such as cancer vaccines in future trials for multiple myeloma patients. Multiple myeloma is a malignancy of plasma cells affecting 30,000 people a year.

Next-generation sequencing data was analyzed to describe the landscape of neoantigens in 184 patients, and researchers identified neoantigen-specific immune cells triggered by immunotherapy. Additionally, they showed an increase in neoantigens in patients who had relapsed myeloma versus new patients, which may indicate potential for greater immune responses to immunotherapy in these patients. The study also identifies common neoantigens between patients, which could lead to new vaccine therapies.

“Tumor neoantigens represent excellent targets for immunotherapy, due to their specific expression in cancer tissue,” said Samir Parekh, MD, Associate Professor of Oncological Sciences and Medicine (Hematology and Medical Oncology) at the Icahn School of Medicine. “Until now, there has been no direct evidence that DNA mutations induce neoantigen-specific T-cell responses following immunotherapy in multiple myeloma.”

Stemming from this research, co-author Nina Bhardwaj, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine (Hematology and Medical Oncology) at the Icahn School of Medicine, and colleagues are pursuing a clinical trial investigating the safety and responsiveness of a personalized neoantigen vaccine for the treatment of cancers including multiple myeloma.

This study was supported by the NIH (R21 CA223953) and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.


About the Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest academic medical system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai is a national and international source of unrivaled education, translational research and discovery, and collaborative clinical leadership ensuring that we deliver the highest quality care—from prevention to treatment of the most serious and complex human diseases. The Health System includes more than 7,200 physicians and features a robust and continually expanding network of multispecialty services, including more than 400 ambulatory practice locations throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 14 on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of the Top 20 Best Hospitals in the country and the Icahn School of Medicine as one of the Top 20 Best Medical Schools in country. Mount Sinai Health System hospitals are consistently ranked regionally by specialty and our physicians in the top 1% of all physicians nationally by U.S. News & World Report.

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