There's new hope for Americans suffering from a deadly form of brain cancer.
An anti-cancer vaccine known as Gliovac will be made available to patients suffering from glioblastoma, a rare and fatal cancer with a devastating five-year survival rate of about five percent.
Gliovac has not received final approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but thanks to the recently enacted federal Right to Try law, Epitopoietic Research Corporation (ERC), the vaccine's manufacturer, has announced a program offering Gliovac to patients who meet certain eligibility requirements.
President Trump signed the Right to Try bill in May 2018.
"The really exciting part of this announcement is that there are people who now have another shot at trying to save their own lives," says Naomi Lopez Bauman, director of healthcare policy at the Arizona-based Goldwater Institute, which helped develop the Right to Try policy. "Whenever they've run out of hope, whenever they don't qualify for any more treatment, they've run out of options, there may still be another pathway."
Lopez Bauman acknowledges that some terminally-ill patients and others who do not qualify for clinical trials may not find another path. For example, the physician has to recommend the treatment and the manufacturer has to be willing to make the treatment available.
"But when that is possible,” she says, “you don't have to beg the federal government for permission to try save your own life."