Medically Reviewed By:
Written By:
Last Modified August 1, 2022
This page features 7 Cited Research Articles
Fact Checked
Our fact-checking process begins with a thorough review of all sources to ensure they are high quality. Then we cross-check the facts with original medical or scientific reports published by those sources, or we validate the facts with reputable news organizations, medical and scientific experts and other health experts. Each page includes all sources for full transparency.
Reviewed is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource

The Mesothelioma Center at has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.

Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.

More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.

About The Mesothelioma Center at

  • Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
  • Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
  • A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
  • 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
Learn More About Us


"My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family."
Mesothelioma patient’s daughter
  • Google Review Rating
  • BBB Review Rating
Read Our Testimonials
Jump To A Topic

What Are Vaccines?

Vaccines are traditionally used to prevent diseases. Traditional vaccines are made from small amounts of weak or dead viruses, bacteria and toxins. They prepare your immune system to fight diseases so that you don’t get sick.

Researchers are developing vaccines to treat cancer in addition to preventing it. Cancer vaccines either prevent cancer development or treat a cancer that has already developed.

Vaccines that aim to prevent cancer are called preventative cancer vaccines. Vaccines that aim to treat cancer are a type of immunotherapy called therapeutic cancer vaccines.

Vaccination leads to immunization, which makes a person immune to developing diseases or cancers.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved only one therapeutic cancer vaccine. Sipuleucel-T (Provenge) was approved in 2010 to treat advanced prostate cancer.

The FDA has approved a number of preventative cancer vaccines such as the HPV vaccine that prevents cervical cancer and the hepatitis B vaccine that prevents liver cancer.

No preventative or therapeutic cancer vaccine has been approved to treat mesothelioma, but researchers are working to develop them.

How Does a Cancer Vaccine Work?

Cancer vaccines stimulate the acquired immune system, also called the adaptive immune system, to get the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.

Cancer vaccines may prevent cancer from returning, kill cancer cells or stop cancer cells from growing and spreading.

Cancer vaccines work by targeting antigens, which are proteins on the surface of diseased cells, viruses and bacteria. Cancer vaccines help the immune system recognize antigens on cancerous cells and kill the cells.

Most cancer vaccines contain or are administered with adjuvants, which help boost the immune response. Vaccines are generally considered safe.

No vaccine for mesothelioma has proven effective yet, but clinical trials are testing new vaccines on a regular basis.

What Clinical Trials Are Testing Mesothelioma Vaccines?

Therapeutic cancer vaccines for mesothelioma are only available through clinical trials. A lot of the research on mesothelioma vaccines remain in the preliminary phases of testing in animal models.

For example, a clinical research trial launching in 2021 called NIPU is phase II study testing second-line nivolumab and ipilimumab with UV1, a telomerase vaccine in patients with inoperable malignant pleural mesothelioma. 118 participants will receive treatment until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity or for a maximum of 2 years.

Preventative Vaccine for Mesothelioma

Researchers at the University of Hawaii are working on a preventative mesothelioma vaccine called HIvax. It targets survivin, a protein found in mesothelioma cells.

According to a 2015 study published in Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics, HIvax remains in the animal testing phase and has not been tested in human clinical trials.

Clinical Trial
Find Immunotherapy Clinical Trials
Learn how to access mesothelioma clinical trials for immunotherapy.

WT1 Vaccine for Mesothelioma

A phase II clinical trial of the WT1 vaccine in mesothelioma patients reported a median overall survival of 21.4 months in participants receiving the vaccine. Those who received a placebo survived 16.6 months.

These results helped the vaccine receive orphan drug status by the FDA in 2016. The orphan drug program facilitates approval for drugs that show promise in treating rare conditions.

A phase III trial is in the works and will begin when funding becomes available.

Stem Cell Vaccine for Mesothelioma

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine are working on a stem cell vaccine for mesothelioma and other cancers.

The stem cell vaccine uses induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells, which are a patient’s own cells that are modified in a lab and then injected back into the patient to stimulate an immune response.

According to a 2018 study published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, the research is still in animal models and not yet tested in humans.

CRS-207 Clinical Trial Halted

Although the CRS-207 vaccine received orphan drug status from the FDA in 2015, a phase II trial of the vaccine was stopped in 2017.

The trial was halted because the vaccine was not working well enough.

Mesothelioma packet from the Mesothelioma Center
Get Your Free Mesothelioma Treatment Guide
Learn About Top Mesothelioma Treatments
Technician documenting notes in a lab
Find Active Mesothelioma Clinical Trials

Tell us what you think
Did this article help you?
How did this article help you?
What about this article isn’t helpful for you?
Did this article help you?

Thank you for your feedback. Would you like to speak with a Patient Advocate?