The SerOzNET study is an important clinical study to better understand the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines in people with cancer.
Cancer Australia has established an important clinical study, to better understand the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines in people with cancer, including in people with solid tumours and blood (haematological) malignancies. Monash Health, Victoria has been engaged to develop and implement an Australian clinical trial based on the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) Serological Sciences Network for COVID-19 (SeroNet) framework, which uses innovative technology to examine the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines in cancer patients.
The study has been called SerOzNET to highlight the unique population it will study. The study is now also recruiting children with cancer aged 5-18 years through the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, NSW and Monash Children's Hospital, VIC.
People with compromised immune systems or pre-existing medical conditions, including cancer, are more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection and are at increased risk of more severe infection. However, people with cancer were largely excluded from the initial clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccines because clinical trials typically need to see whether the vaccines will work in people with healthy immune systems.
Based on a general understanding of the vaccines and international experience on the use of these vaccines in people affected by cancer, there are no specific safety concerns for either the Pfizer or the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines for people with cancer. However, there is a need to build the evidence regarding the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines in people with cancer.
A number of studies are being undertaken across the world to obtain this information; however, it is important to understand the experience of the COVID-19 vaccines in people with cancer in the Australian context. Importantly, Australia has had a low rate of COVID-19 infection compared to many other countries, and therefore presents a unique population to be studied.
Rapid implementation of this study will allow Cancer Australia to provide timely information to the Australian cancer community about the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines in people with cancer.
For more information about the study, visit monashhealth.org/services/oncology/our-research/.