Grand Cayman Island is a British territory in Caribbean Sea. There, a cancer friend, who was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, is trying to receive the most advanced cancer vaccine therapy, Dendritic Cell Vaccine.
I first learned about this vaccine from my brother-in-law in Japan. After I shared this with the family of the cancer friend, the family found out that it was also available in Grand Cayman Island, where is much closer to the U.S. than Japan.
A vaccine therapy is an “order-made” therapy to transform T-cells, one type of white blood cells, which takes the role of immune system and fights against pathogens or foreign objects, by taking out a sample of cancer tumor and teach them how to recognize cancer cells, so that they can go after cancer cells and destroy them. There have been various vaccine studies but, Dendritic Cell vaccine (teaching dendritic cells, supportive cells for T-cells, how to recognize cancer cells) is the most successful so far according to a website.
The therapy includes only a surgery or biopsy to take out a cancer sample, and four injections during four months with the little side effect of fever that is the sign of active immune system. The safety has been already proved by Phase l study.
Why Cayman Island?
I thought the U.S. was the most medically advanced country where anything was possible. Yet, this may not be true. Because of the intense regulations of the FDA, there are treatments or medicines, which are approved in other countries but not in the U.S.
Perseus, the medical team picked the Cayman Island because the island is out of the FDA’s jurisdiction, but still close enough to bring patients from the U.S..
According to its site, Perseus followed all regulations of FDA and finished phase l & ll clinical trials for melanoma, and is in the process of approval of phase lll trial. Yet, probably because the team is out of the FDA’s jurisdiction, it also makes the vaccine available for other cancer patients, such with breast, colon, head and neck, lung, neuroblastoma, ovarian, prostate, and sarcoma cancer.
I pray my friend can make it to the vaccine!