A treatment to protect cancer patients from the COVID

Un traitement protégerait les patients cancéreux de la COVID

The first clinical trial in the world to assess a preventive treatment against the COVID-19 dedicated specifically to protect people with cancer, that are known to be more at risk of developing severe symptoms will soon begin in Canada.

Eight cancer treatment centres across the country, including that of the Centre hospitalier de l’université de Montréal (CHUM), will be put to the test very soon, the treatment immune booster called IMM‐101, announced, Wednesday, the canadian cancer Society, which finances the operation.

For several years, this medication is being studied for the treatment of cancer, including pancreatic cancer and melanoma, because it is thought that it stimulates the immune system and helps to destroy the cancer cells.

However, this option would also alert the body’s defenses against a variety of infections, including respiratory. It is the assumption of the canadian Group of cancer trials, who will lead the clinical trial.

Repositioning

“We’re talking about a drug, which was in development and then in the clinical trial prior to the pandemic, that they just reposition it,” explains Dr. David Roberge, radio-oncologist and researcher at the CHUM.

r David Roberge, radio-oncologist and researcher at the CHUM”>

Dr. David Roberge, radio-oncologist and researcher at the CHUM

We already know that this treatment is safe for humans, says the doctor.

It is assumed that it may have a protective effect against the COVID-19 as a vaccine against tuberculosis, whose main agent is similar to the one that contains the IMM-101, seems to be associated with a reduction of infections and complications linked to the coronavirus, according to preliminary data.

The IMM-101 administered as a vaccine. However, it does not promote the creation of antibodies against the COVID-19 and does not provide any specific protection against this disease.

It works by “exciting” a little more globally, the immune response “, explains Dr. Roberge.

1500 volunteers needed

People with cancer are at a greater risk during this pandemic because of their state of underlying health increases the risk of complications and weakens the immune system.

This population often has no other choice than to go to the hospital for treatment, and therefore cannot isolate easily.

The hope is that by giving them preventively this product, to reduce their risk of catching the new coronavirus, or at least develop serious symptoms in case of infection, what is intended to verify the clinical trial.

This clinical evaluation will involve 1,500 volunteers across Canada who must travel to the hospital to treat a cancer. Half will be part of a control group.

The CHUM actively recruits participants and it is possible to submit an application by e-mail at vaccin.ro.chum@ssss.gouv.qc.ca.

CALLING ALL

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