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Latest Updates from the Vaccine Research Collaborative

20th Jul 2021 - Rachel Kahn

United Kingdom

Welcome to our live blog all about research looking at the effectiveness of the covid vaccines in people with blood cancer.

Tuesday 20th July

Antibody response to two vaccines in people with B-cell blood cancers

Professor Emma Morris and her team have published a study looking at antibody response in 55 people with blood cancers such as acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia. The team found that 36% of people had antibodies after one vaccine dose, which rose to 42% after two doses. You can read more about the studies findings on our health information pages [Leukaemia and covid vaccine efficacy / Study on B cell blood cancers - ALL, CLL, high-grade NHL, low-grade NHL, WM].

Friday 18th June

Antibody responses after one dose for people with CML, MPN and MDS

A new study has looked at antibody response in people with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). There were 59 people who took part in the trial and 71% were on treatment. Overall, after one dose of the vaccine, 58% of people developed an antibody response, compared to 97% of healthy adults. You can find a detailed breakdown of antibody response by disease type on our health information pages.

Monday 14th June

Antibody response to vaccination in people with lymphoma

A recent study looked at antibody response to two doses of the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine in 129 people with lymphoma. The study, supported by the Blood Cancer UK Vaccine Collaborative, found that people who live with lymphoma who were not on treatment were more likely to produce an antibody response than those who were receiving treatment. However, of those not receiving any treatment, those with slow growing lymphomas like follicular lymphoma, were less likely to produce an antibody response than those who had previously been treated for aggressive lymphomas like Hodgkin lymphoma. Click here to read more.

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Antibody response after two doses of the vaccine in people with CLL

Friday 28th May

A study from the University of Birmingham has been published looking at antibody response to covid vaccinations in 299 people with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) who had two doses of either the Pfizer or AstaZeneca vaccine. 13 of these people had their first and second vaccines three weeks apart and the rest waited 12 weeks. The team found that after one dose of the vaccine, 34% of people with CLL had an antibody response to vaccination which rose to 75% after the second vaccination. In comparison, 100% of health donors had an antibody response after the two doses of the vaccine. Whilst 75% of people developed an antibody response, the actual quantity of antibodies produced was lower compared to those who were healthy. Those who were receiving a BTK inhibitor as treatment for their CLL were less likely to develop antibodies, as were those who had an “IgA deficiency” which is a deficiency of one kind of antibody that is characteristic of CLL. Visit our vaccine efficacy health information page to understand more about this study and others.

Antibody and T cell response in people with MPNs after one dose of the Pfizer vaccine

A new study has looked at antibody and T cell response to the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in 21 people with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). The study showed that 76% of people developed antibodies and 80% of people had some kind of “memory T cell” response which are cells which “remember” their first encounter with the vaccine so they’re able to fight covid if they were ever to encounter it. The study found that people with myelofibrosis (MF) tended to produce a higher quantity of antibodies, although four of these people were thought to be infected in the past which could play a role. The team didn’t find anything to suggest treatment had an impact on vaccine response. Visit our vaccine efficacy health information page to understand more about this study and others.

Wednesday 26th May

The Blood Cancer UK Vaccine Research Collaborative have announced funding for a further eight studies that will look at vaccine effectiveness in people with blood cancer. The research will mean we will be able to give people with blood cancer the answers they need to make more informed decisions about their level of risk from the virus.

Monday 17th May 2021

American blood cancer vaccine study

A new study, published by scientists in America, looked at antibody response in 67 people with blood cancer who had received two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer covid vaccines. 36 people did have an antibody response following vaccination but 31 did not. The team also found that older people were less likely to produce an antibody response to the vaccine. The majority of people who took part in the study had either chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), lymphoma or multiple myeloma. The team found that people with CLL were the least likely to produce an antibody response to the vaccine.

As with many of these studies, this study is small and only looks at antibody response to vaccination. When you look at individual diseases included in this study, the numbers become even smaller. This small study is important and interesting, and we need bigger studies that look at vaccine response in specific types of blood cancer.

CLL study from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York

In this study, researchers looked at 44 people with CLL who had two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. They found that 52% of people developed antibodies 21 days after their second vaccination. Those who hadn't had any treatment for their disease and those under the age of 70 were most likely to develop antibodies. 94% of people who had never had any treatment developed antibodies, compared to just 23% people who had received treatment. This fell even more in people who had received treatments in the last 12 months. These are interesting initial findings that indicate how treatment might affect vaccine response. Although we need studies that include larger numbers of people, it's important that people with blood cancer remain cautious.

Tuesday 11th May 2021

Funding awarded to Dr Sean Lim to look at vaccine effectiveness in people with lymphoma

The Blood Cancer UK Research Collaborative have funded their first vaccine research study, that will look at how effective the Covid vaccines are in 680 people with lymphoma. The study is called Prospective Observational Study Evaluating COVID-19 Vaccine Immune Responses in Lymphoid Cancer (PROSECO) and will involve taking blood samples from people with lymphoma who have been vaccinated and look at how their immune systems have responded.

The trial is recruiting patients in Southampton, Oxford, Nottingham, Leicester, Portsmouth and Norwich, and will soon start recruiting in Newcastle. People with lymphoma who live in or near these cities can talk to their clinician about taking part.

The Blood Cancer UK Vaccine Research Collaborative, is a collaboration led by Blood Cancer UK in partnership with Anthony Nolan, Myeloma UK and the British Society for Haematology.

Tuesday 27th April 2021

PROSECO – a study looking at vaccine effectiveness in people with lymphoma

A study called PROSECO is looking for people with lymphoma to take part in a vaccine effectiveness trial. If you have a lymphoma and either not had your first or second dose of Covid vaccine, or if you’ve had your second dose less than 4 weeks ago, you might be eligible.

The trial would involve taking a blood sample 2-4 weeks, 6 months and 9 months after the second dose of your vaccine, and if we haven’t missed it, before and 4 weeks after you’ve had your first dose of vaccine.

If you’re a lymphoma patient at one of the following hospitals, please speak to you clinician to discuss taking part in the trial: University Hospital Southampton, Southampton, Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Norwich, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester, Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham, John Radcliff Hospital, Oxford or the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle.

Those who are not a patient at one of these hospitals are unlikely to be part of the trial at this stage, but we will update people if new hospitals start accepting patients.

Please note, no individual results will be given to people who take part in this research. Rather, it will feed into a wide study which will help us understand the effectiveness of people in blood cancer.

What is PROSECO?

PROSECO stands for The Prospective Observational Study Evaluating COVID-19 Vaccine Immune Responses in Lymphoid Cancer (PROSECO)

Dr Sean Lim from the University of Southampton wants to understand how people with lymphoma respond to the Covid vaccines. She aims to look at 680 people with lymphoma (both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin) and will look at their immune response at several time points to understand what someone’s peak response to vaccination is, and how long this response lasts.

There are two key things to look for to understand how much protection someone has received from a vaccine and these are antibody and T cell response. These are both parts of our immune system that are involved in mounting a response to vaccination. Dr Sean Lim will study both of these things to try and understand how much protection people with lymphoma receive from the covid vaccine.

Monday 26th April 2021

News on vaccine effectiveness in people with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).

A new, small study looked at vaccine effectiveness in 16 people with CML. The team looked at both antibody and T cell response, both thought to be important for providing protection from covid. The results were positive, with 88% of people developing antibodies and 93% developing T cells at 21 days after their first vaccination. The study is small and only looked at people who had received the Pfizer vaccine, but these results are promising for people with CML.

All of the people who took part in the study were receiving TKI’s as part of their treatment and this study is the first to show that despite receiving a TKI, people with CML still produce a strong response to the Covid vaccine.

Larger studies which look at vaccine response to the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines after people receive both doses are now needed.

Thursday 22nd April 2021

Here, you’ll be able to find out about the research projects we will fund thanks to your generous donations. You’ll also be able to find out about the latest data from studies looking at how much protection the vaccines offer to people with blood cancer.

What we know so far

The SOAP study

The research looks at vaccine response in 205 people who received the Pfizer vaccine. Of these, 151 had cancer and 56 had blood cancer. After one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, an antibody response was only seen in 13% of people with blood cancer and a T cell response was seen in 50%, this was lower than people who had solid tumours. The number this study looked at was small and therefore we cannot conclude much from this research. Further research is needed to better define the response to vaccines in specific cohorts of people with blood cancer.

The Royal Marsden study

This study specifically looked at vaccine effectiveness in people with myeloma. They looked at antibody response after one dose of either of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine. 70% of people with myeloma had an antibody response 21 days or more post vaccination.

The Israeli CLL study

This study looked at 167 people with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia who had received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine 21 days apart. Of these 167 people, an antibody response was only seen in 39.5%. Those who were in remission following treatment had a better response than those who were on active treatment. While these results are worrying, it's important to remember that antibody response is only one piece of the puzzle and other factors which weren't measured in this study, might also be important in protecting people from covid. More research is needed to understand this.

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COVID-19

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