New Glioblastoma Cancer Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase 2 Trial

By Jason Bardi, Public Affairs | June 11, 2011

The first results of a multicenter Phase 2 clinical trial on a new brain cancer vaccine tailored to a patient's own tumor will be announced today (June 6) at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2011 Annual Meeting in Chicago.
The trial, conducted at three U.S. medical centers and led by doctors at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, found that the vaccine was safe and less toxic than conventional treatments and that it could extend survival for people with recurrent glioblastoma — a deadly type of brain cancer that kills thousands of Americans every year.

ParsaThe trial involved 33 patients with recurrent glioblastoma 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 vaccine induces an immune response against multiple tumor-specific targets that allows patients to fight their own disease," said UCSF neurosurgeon Andrew Parsa, M.D., Ph.D., who led the research. "The survival data thus far compare favorably with historical controls and clearly support advancement of this vaccine into later-stage randomized trials to directly compare the vaccine's effectiveness to conventional treatment."

Without treatment, half of the patients in the trial would have succumbed to the cancer within five to nine months, based on historical data. After receiving the vaccine, however, the median survival for 30 patients who received at least four vaccinations was 11 months. Several have survived for more than a year.

"These results are encouraging," said Dr. Andrew Sloan, director of the Brain Tumor and Neuro-Oncology Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Peter D. Cristal Chair in Neurosurgery at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. The next step, Sloan agrees, would be a more extensive, randomized clinical trial.

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