Ferrier Research Institute and BCFNZ to create new breast cancer vaccine


Victoria University of Wellington's Ferrier Research Institute and the Breast Cancer Foundation New Zealand (BCFNZ) have joined forces to create a new vaccine for breast cancer.

Under the five-year research partnership, BCFNZ will grant $500,000 to the Ferrier Institute to progress a breakthrough made by the research institute’s chemists to create the vaccine.

Ferrier Research Institute is currently developing a synthetic cancer vaccine technology that has the capability to activate tumour-specific T-cells, producing a targeted immune response.

The vaccine causes rejection of cancer in several types of animal models.

Ferrier Research Institute chemistry team lead professor Gavin Painter said: “Getting a new therapy to human clinical trials requires significant investment, and an intensive campaign of chemistry, biology and regulatory compliance.

"Getting a new therapy to human clinical trials requires significant investment, and an intensive campaign of chemistry, biology and regulatory compliance."

“Our success to date has been made possible because we work with the exceptional immunology research group led by Professor Ian Hermans at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research here in Wellington, a relationship built up in a seven-year strategic collaboration.”

Cancer immunotherapy has caused a shift in cancer treatment, with a focus on targeting the body's own immune system to fight cancer cells.

The research has led to the production of cancer vaccines, which are showing good results when used in certain situations.

The Ferrier Research Institute worked with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York for 20 years, which has resulted in successful drug trials.

Some of the enzyme inhibitors ever reported include Forodesine as a targeted therapy for various haematological cancers, and Ulodesine as an orally available drug to treat severe gout.