People with blood cancers often have weakened immune systems, which puts them at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. In addition, some cancer therapies can cause these patients to develop little or no antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 after vaccination against COVID-19. However, vaccination can also activate so-called T cells, which are especially responsible for long-term immune responses.
A team led by doctors Dr. Andrea Keppler-Hafkemeyer and Dr. Christine Greil from the University Medical Center Freiburg and virologist Prof. Oliver T. Keppler from the University of Munich have now described in detail the course of the patient’s immune response over several months of co-vaccination Blood cancer patients who received 3 COVID-19 vaccines. The results can be inferred that vaccination can protect these patients from severe disease caused by SARS-CoV2.
Strong T cell response to COVID-19 vaccination
The study focused on patients with two blood cancers: B-cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma. “Our results show that almost all study participants developed a strong T-cell response to COVID-19 vaccination,” explains Dr. Andrea Keppler-Hafkemeyer. Dr Christine Greil added: “This may be one of the reasons why breakthrough infections proved to be mild to moderately severe even among study participants who were unable to develop any specific antibodies due to treatment after vaccination. The co-lead investigator and lead author regularly care for blood cancer patients at the Department of Medicine 1 of the University Medical Center Freiburg.
The research team led by Prof. Oliver T. Keppler specialized in analyzing not only the concentration of antibodies after vaccination, but also the quality of the antibodies. This depends inter alia on the strength of the binding between the antibody and the viral spike protein. In addition, the ability of antibodies to neutralize different SARS-CoV-2 variants in cell culture also plays an important role. So, as a next step, the scientists compared the quantity and quality of antibodies and T cell responses to the spike protein in blood cancer patients and healthy study participants after two and three COVID-19 vaccinations.
High-quality antibodies against different SARS-CoV-2 variants
The study showed that patients who were able to form antibodies tended to produce antibodies of exceptionally high quality. After the second vaccination, they were already able to neutralize and thus inactivate different SARS-CoV-2 variants. This ability was more pronounced in this patient population than in vaccinated healthy individuals.
“COVID-19 vaccination can generate very broad antiviral immunity—including highly potent neutralizing antibodies—in patients with various types of blood cancers. Therefore, patients with B-cell lymphoma or multiple myeloma can be advised to Multiple vaccine doses are administered in certain situations,” concludes Prof. Oliver T. Keppler.
Source of story: