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Mays Cancer Center studying effects of COVID-19 vaccine on patients

One doctor says individuals diagnosed with cancer weren't included in the coronavirus vaccine trials, making this an important study.

SAN ANTONIO — Studies branching off the coronavirus vaccine are underway in San Antonio.

The Mays Cancer Center is working to better understand how the vaccine affects patients with cancer. Dr. Dimpy Shah works at the center, which also houses UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson. She said they're in the process of vaccinating patients.

"Cancer patients are one of the most impacted from COVID-19, " Shah said. "So far, we have vaccinated 850 patients."

Several of those patients belong to a new study which Shah is co-leading. 

"Cancer patients were not included in the vaccine trials, so it's really important for us and our patients to know how they would respond to the vaccine," Shah said.

She said doctors will follow up with their patients for up to 18 months. They'll monitor side effects and learn how long the immune response lasts.

"We are also interested in how the vaccine and anti-cancer treatment interact with each other," Shah said.

Her team initially planned to study 500 patients, but after receiving an overwhelming response, they may end up surpassing number.

"Our patients are very excited about it," Shah said. "They would really like to know the answers."

Shah said they'll focus on collecting data for nearly two years. Then, they'll need more time to analyze the data before their findings are shared with the community. 

To learn more about the Mays Cancer Center, click here.