Richard Boylan speaks out about his experience with a personalized kidney cancer vaccine, saying he's 'extraordinarily lucky.' He's part of a clinical trial at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. His doctor, David Braun, MD, PhD, is one of the scientists leading the research.
when Richard Boylan learned he had kidney cancer that was beginning to spread. He never imagined he would be among the first patients enrolled in a study for a personalized vaccine to treat his cancer. He went in for surgery and scientists started working on his vaccine immediately. The cancer is kidney went directly uh to them the sequence each individual's tumor uh to really examine its DNA and what's different from normal parts of the body and that the specifically target that dana Farber cancer institute's Dr David braun is one of the scientists leading the kidney cancer trial, which is supported by gateway for cancer research. So the idea behind a personalized vaccine is really, can we steer the immune system specifically towards the patient's tumor? The personalized cancer vaccine known as neo vax is paired with a more established immunotherapy drug. It's a first of its kind strategy aimed at improving outcomes for kidney cancer patients who are at high risk of recurrence following surgery. Dr braun says, think of the immunotherapy drug as something that jump starts the immune system and adding in the personalized vaccine allows the immunotherapy drug to focus tightly on the cancer cells. And the hope is that by adding this the steering wheel this personalized vaccine that targets these these DNA changes on a tumor. These neo antigens were able to really specifically steer the immune system towards the tumor rather than just releasing a lot of shots, a lot of needles over an extended period. I'm not a big fan of needles. Um, but you know, you consider the alternative. This is not a problem. Richard says the treatment wasn't always easy, but for about a year now. He just goes into Dana Farber every few months for monitoring. He says, so far his scans look good. He's been able to enjoy going to the symphony and biking again as well as spending time with his granddaughter. Dr braun says that while there's still a lot more research that needs to happen, these are encouraging first steps. I knew I was coming in for immunotherapy. The fact that I came in for target immunotherapy is just a blessing. I consider myself extraordinary locally be part of the study.