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Moderna, Merck's Cancer Vaccines Exhibit Positive Outcomes Under Midstage Trial

  • Moderna, Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) and Merck & Company, Inc's (NYSE: MRKcancer vaccine exhibited positive results against relapse for melanoma patients, results from a midstage trial showed.

  • About 79% of high-risk melanoma patients who got the personalized vaccine and Merck's immunotherapy Keytruda were alive and cancer-free at 18 months, compared with about 62% of patients who received immunotherapy alone, the Wall Street reports citing researchers.

  • Some 157 patients with stage three or four melanoma were enrolled in the trial and underwent surgery to remove cancer.

  • Around 107 patients received the shot and immunotherapy after surgery, while 50 received immunotherapy after surgery alone.

  • After about two years, recurrence of cancer or death was reported in 22% of patients who got the shot and the immunotherapy Keytruda and in 40% of patients who received immunotherapy alone.

  • The combination with the vaccine helped reduce the risk of recurrence and death for the melanoma patients in the trial by some 44% compared with Keytruda alone, the researchers said.

  • Moderna and Merck look to expand their research into other tumor types, including non-small cell lung cancer.

  • The companies aim to run a more extensive study to confirm the vaccine's safety and efficacy in treating high-risk melanoma.

  • They released a limited overview of the results in December and presented fuller results at an American Association for Cancer Research conference in Orlando, Florida.

  • "That approach could be a game-changer," said Dr. Robert Vonderheide, director of the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania and a chair of the AACR conference.

  • The researchers found that the vaccine appeared to help regardless of the number of mutations in a patient's cancer cells, which can influence a patient's response to immunotherapy drugs. "It's early days, but it provides a high degree of confidence," said Dr. Stephen Hoge, Moderna's president.

  • The companies said fatigue was the most common side effect, along with pain at the injection site and chills.

  • Price Action: MRNA shares traded higher by 1.15% at $158.90 premarket on the last check Monday.

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This article Moderna, Merck's Cancer Vaccines Exhibit Positive Outcomes Under Midstage Trial originally appeared on Benzinga.com

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