Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A trial looking at a vaccine to prevent shingles in people with blood cancers
More about this trial
Doctors use chemotherapy or immunotherapy to treat people with leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. A side effect of these treatments can be a drop in white blood cells. White blood cells are part of the body’s
Shingles is caused by a virus that affects the nerves. It is the same virus that causes chickenpox.
The virus can travel along the nerves to your skin, causing a painful rash and blisters. People having chemotherapy have a greater risk of developing shingles.
Researchers thought the HZ/su vaccine might prevent shingles in these people.
The vaccine is made of a piece of the virus that causes shingles and a substance that helps the vaccine to work better. We know from research that the vaccine can help the body’s immune system make antibodies against shingles. This is called an immune response.
In this trial, researchers compared people who had the HZ/su vaccine with those who had a dummy drug (
- whether the vaccine produced an immune response
- how safe the vaccine was
They also looked at how good the immune response to the vaccine was for people with certain types of blood cancer.
Summary of results
The response of the body’s immune system (immune response) was better in those who had the HZ/su vaccine than those who had the dummy drug.
About this trial
This was a phase 3 trial. 562 people took part in the trial.
It was a randomised trial. Everyone was put into 1 of 2 groups:
- 283 people had the HZ/su vaccine
- 279 people had the dummy drug (
A month after the 2nd dose of the vaccine or dummy drug the researchers looked at how the people’s immune system responded. People who received the HZ/su vaccine had a much better immune response than those who had the dummy drug.
The most common side effects of the HZ/su vaccine people reported were:
- pain in the arm where they had the vaccine injection
- tiredness (fatigue)
The trial team concluded the immune system responded well to the HZ/su vaccine. And the side effects were manageable.
Where this information comes from
We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Dr Andy Peniket
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer