First Australian clinical trial to study COVID-19 vaccines in patients with all cancers

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In an Australian first, Cancer Australia today launched the SerOzNET study a large Australian clinical trial that will help build vital global evidence about the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines in people with cancer.

‘We have established this timely clinical trial because there are limited data available internationally and within Australia regarding the impact and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines in people with cancer,” said Professor Dorothy Keefe, CEO Cancer Australia.

“The SerOzNET study presents a critical opportunity to contribute to the science in relation to COVID-19 vaccination of cancer patients.”

“People with cancer were largely excluded from the initial international clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccines, but we know that they are more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection and are at increased risk of more severe infection.”

Professor Keefe said the fact that Australia had had a low rate of COVID-19 infection means that we have a unique population, and the results of the study will not only be important to Australians but will also be of global interest.

“The study may also be able to give us important insights, including potentially how different therapies impact on vaccine response; how patients with different types of cancers, including blood cancers, respond to the vaccines; and the impact of timing of the vaccine for patients on cancer treatments,” said Professor Keefe.

Patients with any cancer diagnosis, on current or past treatment, who have not yet been vaccinated, will be eligible for this trial.

The SerOzNET study is based on a study protocol from the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) Serological Sciences Network for COVID-19 (SeroNet), which uses innovative technology to examine the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines in cancer patients.

Rapid implementation of this study will enable critical communication with the Australian cancer community on the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines in people with cancer.

Monash Health, Victoria, has been engaged as the lead site to establish and implement the clinical study, which will be led by experienced cancer researcher, Professor Eva Segelov.

Cancer Australia supports COVID-19 vaccines as a safe and effective way to protect cancer patients, their families and the community against COVID-19.

All people in Australia will need two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines; however, it is especially important for people with cancer to have the second dose at the recommended time because the vaccines may be less effective for people who have a weaker immune system.

The Cancer Australia Information about cancer and COVID-19 website hub, provides advice and information for Australians affected by cancer and a repository of up-to-date, evidence-based resources and guidance for health professionals and researchers from Australian and international organisations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, including Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 vaccine for people affected by cancer, and dedicated resources tailored for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.