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New Vaccine Strategy Intended to Better Protect Cancer Patients against Flu

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Published on : Dec 08, 2015

Scientists, according to report, have been successful in developing a new vaccine strategy that is likely to reduce the risk of flu infection in cancer patients, particularly who are at higher risk of influenza. 

Patients who are suffering from cancer of the immune system such as multiple myeloma are highly vulnerable to even the most common infections. Furthermore, a bout of flu can lead to serious illnesses among such patients and eventually death. 

While patients with plasma cell disorders and multiple myeloma can receive flu vaccines at an early stage, studies have shown that one-time flu shot seldom offers the required immune response. The researchers at the Yale University Cancer Center in the US have therefore, developed a strategy that needed to offer patients a second high dose of flu vaccine, after almost a month of taking their first flu shot. 

The high dose flu vaccine for cancer patients called Fluzone High-Dose was approved by the US Food and Drugs Administration in 2009. The directive mentioned to administer only a single dose of the vaccine for adults over 65 years of age. 

However, the booster strategy efficiently lowered the risk of flu infection among patients to 6 per cent, compared to the expected rate of 20 per cent. Furthermore, the experiment revealed that the booster strategy also improved protection against every kind of flu strains against which the vaccine offered protection in 66 per cent of patients. The first author of the study, Andrew Branagan revealed the information. 

He said that if an approved flu vaccine is used but in accordance to a novel dosing schedule, it will yield more promising results of recovery in patients who are at high risk of infection. Branagan further added that he and other members of his team are looking forward to confirm the results via a larger prospective randomized trial that is already underway at Yele for the 2015-2016 flu season.