Clinical Trial Now Available For Patients With HPV-positive Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

A new therapeutic clinical trial is now available at Mount Sinai for patients with HPV-related oropharyngeal (tonsil and tongue base) cancer who are eligible to undergo robot-assisted surgery. This study tests a novel vaccine (ADXS11-001) that patients receive during a specific window prior to undergoing surgery.

“Instead of offering traditional surgery and radiation, we are offering a newer vaccine approach to try to fight the virus, which is the actual cause of the cancer, versus chasing it on the back side with radiation and surgery,“ says Brett Miles, DDS, MD, the surgical oncologist and co-investigator on the trial.

The vaccine uses a novel principle to stimulate the immune system. Most of the available HPV vaccines to date have been preventive vaccines that do not treat patients who have already been affected with the virus. The vaccine in this trial uses a therapeutic approach, which can be used in patients who already have HPV-related cancer.

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Eradicating Cervical Cancer

As an oncologist, I am often confronted with patients with advanced gynecologic malignancies with limited successful options to cure them. The success of treating and curing patients with cancer depends not only on the skills and technologies, it is very much dependent on the patients and the stage of their diseases. Too often, we are not able to detect these malignancies early because we do not know what causes the disease and there are no early detection tests so that by the time a patient is in my office, the disease is at an advanced stage.    Cervical cancer, however, is one of the few gynecologic malignancies that we know is caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) that can be detected by a simple pap smear. Furthermore, cervical cancer can be prevented with an HPV vaccination.

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