Monday, 2 Aug 2021 - 24 of Av, 5781

First-of-its-kind study in Israel finds that cancer patients are safe for COVID-19 vaccines

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Prof. Salomon Stemmer, Director of the Oncology Research Unit at Davidoff Center, Beilinson Hospital: “We found that there is a high enough level of antibodies to provide full protection for 90% of oncology patients undergoing active anti-cancer treatment.”

Israeli researchers have been examining the relationship between the COVID-19 vaccine (messenger RNA SARS-CoV-2) and patients undergoing treatment for various types of cancer.

The findings suggest that patients with cancer who are receiving active treatment and are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 disease, respond well to RNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, and that vaccination of these patients should be seriously considered. More than 90% of oncology patients have responded well to the vaccine.

The study, conducted by Dr. ‎Amir Masarwa‎‏ and Dr. Noa Eliakim, Director of Department of Internal Medicine at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, took place between February 22, 2021, and March 15, 2021 at the hospital’s Davidoff Cancer Center for cancer research, and included 180 participants, which comprised 102 patients with cancer.

The most common tumor type was gastrointestinal. In the patient group, 92 (90%) were seropositive for SARS-CoV 2 antispike IgG antibodies after the second vaccine dose, whereas in the control group, all were seropositive. The median IgG titer in the patients with cancer was significantly lower than that in the controls.

“We found that there is a sufficiently high enough level of antibodies to provides full protection for 90% of oncology patients undergoing active anti-cancer treatment – This is exciting news, with potential for tremendous impact,’’ said Prof. Salomon Stemmer, Director of the Oncology Research Unit at Davidoff Center, Beilinson Hospital.

“The fact that Israel is at the forefront of the global battle against COVID-19, holding the highest rate of vaccinated citizens – gave us the ability to shift our focus from fighting the actual pandemic to further understanding the disease’s and its vaccine’s implications and risks. In the control group, all family members developed a high level of antibodies. In the group of the oncology patients, a high level of antibodies that provides protection was developed, though at a lower level than in healthy people,’’ he added.

The findings show that 90% of the oncology patients are protected by a sufficiently high level of antibodies which  is important news for millions of patients around the world who can now breathe easier.”

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