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New vaccine strategy shields high-risk cancer patients from flu

Washington: A team of researchers has developed a vaccine strategy that reduces the risk of flu infections in cancer patients at highest risk for influenza.

Even though patients with multiple myeloma and other plasma cell disorders may receive an annual flu vaccine, studies show that a one-time flu shot does not offer adequate immune response.

The Yale Cancer Center researchers’ strategy entails offering patients a high-dose flu vaccine followed by a second high-dose booster shot one month later. The high-dose vaccine (Fluzone High-Dose) was approved in 2009 by the FDA as a single dose for adults over 65.

The booster strategy lowered the flu infection rate among patients to 6 percent versus an expected rate of 20 percent, and it improved protection against all flu strains covered by the vaccine in 66 percent of patients, said first author Andrew Branagan.

Using an approved flu vaccine in a novel dosing schedule yielded promising results for a group of patients at high risk for infection, Branagan said

The findings were presented Dec. 6 at the 57th annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology in Orlando, Florida. (ANI)