Therapeutic Cancer Vaccines: The failures

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Cancer immunotherapy and cancer vaccines were named Science Magazine’s ‘Breakthrough of the Year 2013‘, but whilst the industry continues to be optimistic about the promises of harnessing a patients immune system to treat cancer, it’s hard to ignore the big disappointments that have been recorded in a number of high profile Phase III and II trial failures.

Here are just some of the notable therapeutic cancer vaccines that have produced disappointing results over the last few years:

Click on the images below to view the gallery 


Comments 2

  1. Mark Reddish

    That is it, the article is a list of company logos and a red sign saying ‘FAIL”. No analysis of the actual outcomes, no discussion of the possible future for any of these products, just a sign that says FAIL. How about a discussion of common themes if any for the failures such as what technologies they represent and how those compare to those that did not fail. Big sign says FAIL on Stimuvax/Merck KgA but no discussion of the half dozen phase IIs still ongoing and the new phase III trial (Start II) that they opened just about 2 weeks ago, or the fact that the 800 pt subset had a 10.2 month survival advantage. I guess that’s what to expect from a philosophy major instead of an actual scientist. Good luck with that. This is a weak.

    1. Post

      Hi Mark,
      Personal attacks aside, I’m sorry to hear that you found the content of this article lacking in details. The article was designed simply to highlight some of the more significant late stage failures of cancer vaccines over the past few years. We are currently working on two features for the rest of this month looking at the future of therapeutic cancer vaccines, including those currently in late stage clinical trials, and the sort of technology we can expect over the next few years which will allow developers to avoid the difficulties encountered over the past few years.

      If you’d like to contribute to either of these articles then please feel free to email me at


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