A new phase II/III clinical trial will further investigate the effectiveness of the lung cancer vaccine tergenpumatucel-L (HyperAcute-Lung immunotherapy, or HAL) against non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Patients with advanced NSCLC that has resisted previous treatment will receive either HAL or the chemotherapy drug docetaxel (Taxotere). HAL consists of lung cancer cells that have been modified to prevent them from growing. A mouse gene has been inserted into these cells, causing them to express a molecule on their surface that human immune systems recognize as foreign. When the cells are injected into humans, they provoke a strong immune response, which stimulates the immune system to also attack the patient’s own lung cancer cells. A previous phase I/II trial of HAL had produced promising results.
A phase II clinical trial of a vaccine aimed at treating non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has yielded promising findings. Tergenpumatucel-L (HyperAcute-Lung immunotherapy, or HAL) consists of genetically modified NSCLC cells that provoke a strong, targeted attack from the immune system. The treatment thus trains the patient’s immune system to attack NSCLC cells. Eight out of 28 patients with advanced NSCLC who received HAL experienced stable disease without further cancer growth. The average survival time for study participants was 11.3 months, which is longer than expected for their disease status, and one patient survived more than 50.0 months. Patients whose cancer progressed after HAL treatment were given chemotherapy. Over half of showed some degree of effectiveness, suggesting that HAL treatment may increase responsiveness to chemotherapy.