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Latest Updates from the Vaccine Research Collaborative

11th May 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 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.