A new brain cancer vaccine tailored to individual patients by using material from their own tumors has proven effective in a multicenter phase 2 clinical trial at extending their lives by several months or longer. The patients suffered from recurrent glioblastoma multiforme-which kills thousands of Americans every year.
These results compared the effectiveness of the vaccine for more than 40 patients treated at UCSF’s Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, at the Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland and at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.
The trial found the vaccine could extend survival for the patients by several months when compared to 80 other patients who were treated at the same hospitals and received standard therapy-47 weeks compared to 32 weeks. Several of the patients who received the cancer vaccine have survived for more than a year.
“These results are provocative,” said UCSF neurosurgeon Andrew Parsa, MD, PhD, who led the research. “They suggest that doctors may be able to extend survival even longer by combining the vaccine with other drugs that enhance this immune response.”
The next step, he said, will be a more extensive, randomized clinical trial to look at the effectiveness of the vaccine combined with the drug Avastin, a standard therapy for this type of cancer, compared to the effectiveness of Avastin alone. Those trials, to be run by the National Cancer Institute, will begin enrolling patients later this year.
Some 17,000 Americans are diagnosed with glioblastoma every year, and only 2 percent of them survive longer than five years ? even with treatment. The cancer always recurs, he added, and it is only a matter of when.
Source: University of California, San Francisco, USA