April 2, 2014 / 6:40 AM / 3 years ago

GSK throws in towel on lung cancer vaccine trial

LONDON, April 2 (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline has stopped a high-profile clinical trial using a novel vaccine to fight lung cancer after deciding it will not be possible to find a sub-group of patients who might benefit.

The decision comes less than two weeks after the British drugmaker said the MAGE-A3 therapeutic vaccine did not help patients with non-small cell lung cancer in the Phase III study but that it planned to continue to trial in the hope of identifying patients with a particular genetic profile for whom it would work.[ID: nL6N0MH1IR]

A second trial testing the vaccine in melanoma, which also failed to help patients overall, will continue to investigate benefits in sub-populations.

Unlike traditional preventative vaccines, the MAGE-A3 treatment was designed for people with established disease, helping their immune systems to prevent the return of disease after surgery.

U.S.-based Agenus has contributed technology to the GSK vaccine and its shares are sensitive to news on the project. The vaccine contains Agenus' QS-21 Stimulon adjuvant, or booster. (Reporting by Ben Hirschler, Editing by Paul Sandle)

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