COVID-19 vaccination may offer cancer protection


Researchers have shown that recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine had a strong immune response, even in the presence of blood malignancy. Patients with multiple myeloma and B-cell lymphoma who get the COVID-19 vaccine are shielded from serious disease. In some people, very effective antibodies even develop. The so-called T cells, which are in particular in charge of the long-term immune response, can be activated by vaccination nevertheless.

The immunological response of blood cancer patients who had received a total of three COVID-19 vaccines has now been extensively described by researchers over the course of many months. The findings enable conclusions to be drawn on the defence that vaccination provides these individuals against severe SARS-CoV-2 disease.

Patients with multiple myeloma and B-cell lymphoma were the main subjects of the study. In addition, following two and three COVID-19 vaccines, the researchers examined the amount and quality of antibodies and T cell responses to the spike protein in blood cancer patients and healthy trial participants.

According to the study, those who can generate antibodies tend to do it in a particularly high-quality manner.
They are already able to neutralise and subsequently deactivate certain SARS-CoV-2 strains after their second immunisation. Compared to healthy persons who have received vaccinations, this capacity is noticeably more prominent in this sick cohort.

Journal article: Keppler-Hafkemeyer, A., et al. 2022. Potent high-avidity neutralizing antibodies and T cell responses after COVID-19 vaccination in individuals with B cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Nature Cancer.

Summary by Stefan Botha

International Union of Immunological SocietiesUniversity of South AfricaInstitute of Infectious Disease and Molecular MedicineElizabeth Glazer Pediatric Aids Foundation