The Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego, is launching a trial to test the effectiveness of a novel lung cancer vaccine. Like other cancer vaccines, Lucanix is designed to pump up the immune system to fight off cancer. However, this vaccine, developed by NovaRx, San Diego, Calif, consists of lung cancer cells that have been genetically altered to shut down the cancer’s ability to depress the immune system.

“The future treatments for advanced lung cancer may involve combinations of chemotherapy and targeted agents, and possibly even biologicals such as this,” says Lyudmila Bazhenova, MD, director of the Lung Cancer Unit at the Moores Cancer Center.

Patients with stage four non-small cell lung cancer who have had a response (tumor shrinkage or stable disease) to four to six cycles of platinum-based chemotherapy may be eligible for the trial. The main goal of the trial is to determine if the vaccine can improve patient survival compared to taking placebo.