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UCSF Brain Tumor Vaccine Trial Shows Promising Results

By Carol Hyman, UCSF News Services | April 13, 2007

A vaccine for treating a recurrent cancer of the central nervous system that occurs primarily in the brain has shown promise in preliminary data from a clinical trial at the University of California, San Francisco.

Known as a glioma, this cancerous tumor is always fatal. Findings from a group of 12 study patients showed that vitespen vaccination (trademarked as Oncophage) was effective in stimulating the patient's immune system to attack the tumor cells, a function that is known medically as tumor-specific immune response. All the patients had recurrent, high-grade glioma, and all showed the immune response. The vaccine is made from the patient's own tumor.

The clinical trial was conducted by the UCSF Brain Tumor Research Center. Results were presented today (April 16) at the 75th annual meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in Washington, DC.

"In this trial, we have observed a correlation between immune response as a result of vitespen vaccination and potential clinical benefit," said Andrew T. Parsa, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery at UCSF and recipient of the 2007 Young Investigator Award at AANS. "We are encouraged by the prolonged improvement in overall survival rates, although this phase 1/2 study is not designed to primarily evaluate efficacy. The patients in this trial represent the most challenging patient population to treat."

Read more at Carol Hyman, UCSF News Services