Roswell Park to start clinical trials for lung cancer vaccine

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The vaccine will use the drug Cimavax. It works by ramping up the body’s own immune system to be able to fight cancer. In the next year, the medical campus in Buffalo will be making history. If you want to get the lung cancer vaccine, you can only get it here in Buffalo.

60 to 90 people with advanced lung cancer will start the clinical trial just 30 days from now.

Roswell Park President and CEO, Dr. Candace Johnson said, “We’re talking about bringing life saving therapies to this country, and so we got everybody’s attention.”

With approval from the FDA signed, and sealed, cancer drugs are already on a plane, soon to be delivered to Western New York.

John said, “Our hope is that we will help to bring the whole portfolio of drugs available in Cuba back to this country, and explore them with research and clinical trials but then also potentially to commercially develop them with Cuba.”

Leaders say once President Obama announced the U.S. would reestablish a relationship with Cuba, Governor Andrew Cuomo wanted this project to be a part of what he called “the new Buffalo.”

At the announcement Wednesday morning he said, “The idea was, “let’s be the first state to Cuba. Let’s get our institutions to Cuba before anyone else.”

So who is eligible for this? The Cimavax vaccine trial is for people with stage IIIB or IV non-small cell lung cancer who have been treated previously by one line of chemotherapy.

“These patients will be people with advanced disease, advanced lung cancer. They may have gone through conventional therapies and those have failed,” said Johnson.

Roswell leaders are already planning next steps. Plans are in motion to use Cimevax in other clinical studies to treat other kinds of cancer. The goal with this trial is to treat and, eventually, prevent lung cancer.

Dr. Kelvin Lee with the Department of Immunology said, “The question is, can  you vaccinate them with Cimevax to reduce their risk of even getting lung cancer in the first place.”

State leaders say they’re hopeful this will lead to economic growth here too. Dr. Candace Johnson said this will bring people all over the world who want to participate in drug trials and create jobs through the hospital.

If you’re interested in taking part in this first clinical trial, you can find out if you’re eligible at this link. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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