Cancer vaccines are being developed as a method of preventing certain types of cancer, and as therapeutic treatments to treat existing cancers across a range of indications in oncology, either as stand-alone therapies or in combination with traditional cancer therapeutics such as chemotherapy and surgery. The high mortality rate associated with cancer and its resistance to conventional treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy has led to the investigation of a variety of anti-cancer immunotherapies, which have a lower toxicity associated with their use than traditional chemotherapies. Therapeutic vaccine administration will increase the overall survival of poor-performance-status patients, and enable more rounds of treatment to be given – factors that will contribute to growing global revenues for this class of therapy. However, cancer vaccines are not perceived as having strong commercial potential, as immune checkpoint inhibitors are expected to dominate the treatment landscape for leukemia and lymphoma during the forecast period.
A number of common etiologic factors have been strongly characterized as raising the risk of developing cancer, including age, chronic inflammation, gender, obesity, tobacco usage and heritable cancer syndromes. The risk of cancer increases greatly in patients over the age of 65. Populations in developed countries are projected to become increasingly aged and show rising obesity incidence, which will drive cancer prevalence and revenue growth for its treatments.
Prophylactic vaccines are currently used to immunize against viruses, which have been shown to increase the risk of cancer, with viral factors being the underlying cause of approximately 15% of cancers worldwide. Prophylactic vaccines such as Gardasil are currently the most commercially successful and well-established class of cancer vaccines. However, there has been a shift towards the clinical testing of therapeutic vaccines – which constitute the majority of the pipeline – such as Imlygic, which was recently approved for melanoma.
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