November. 17 (UPI) – According to a study published by Cancer Cell on Wednesday, booster doses of COVID-19 provide vital additional immunity to cancer survivors and those receiving treatment for the disease.
One group of cancer patients with detectable antibodies, which are proteins produced by the immune system to fight infections, saw their levels fall four to six months after receiving the second dose of either Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech, the data showed.
In the second group, 64 percent had detectable antibodies, while the rest did not, the researchers said.
However, after all patients in the study received a booster dose of COVID-19, 80% had higher antibody levels than before the booster dose.
In addition, 56 percent of those who did not previously have detectable antibodies after regular vaccination had them after booster vaccination, they said.
“We have learned how devastating COVID-19 can be not only for the entire population, but especially for our cancer patients,” co-author of the study, Dr. Lauren Shapiro, told UPI in a telephone interview.
“These patients respond incredibly well to booster vaccinations, even those with no detectable antibodies after the first round of vaccination,” said Shapiro, a third-year hematology / oncology researcher at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. City.
This means that these patients have “some protection” against COVID-19, he said.
The Food and Drug Administration announced in October that booster vaccines for COVID-19 are recommended for people at certain risk groups, including cancer patients and those in treatment for the disease.
Cancer can weaken the body’s immune system, as can some forms of chemotherapy, which is used to treat the disease.
As a result, many cancer patients who have survived and are being treated are considered “immunodeficient,” so they may be more susceptible to COVID-19 and need additional doses of vaccines to fight the virus, Shapiro said.
Previous studies have shown that vaccines are safe for cancer patients.
For this study, Shapiro and colleagues evaluated the antibody response in 187 cancer patients in Montefiore who had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The researchers said that participants had a blood test for antibodies to the virus immediately after complete vaccination and again four to six months later.
More than three-quarters of the participants were in cancer treatment during the study.
Of the participants, 88 received a booster dose of vaccine at least 28 days after a second dose of either Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech, both requiring two vaccines or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
According to the researchers, 70 percent of the participants had been vaccinated with Pfizer-BioNTech, 25 percent with Moderna and 5 percent with Johnson & Johnson.
Participants who received the boost were, on average, 69 years old and distributed almost evenly between men and women. In addition, 65% had blood cancer and 35% had a solid tumor.
Cancer survivors and those in treatment may want to log in to oncologists before being vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus or receiving a booster vaccine, but previous studies have shown no reason for them to avoid vaccinations, Shapiro said.
An oncologist can “recommend a specific timing for booster vaccination depending on the specific situation of each patient,” Shapiro said.
“However, our research shows that booster vaccination is both safe and effective, even for the majority of patients receiving active cancer-targeted treatment, and that’s why we support timely booster vaccination in collaboration with their providers,” he said.