Clinical trial evaluating brain cancer vaccine is underway

Oct 19, 2007

A clinical trial evaluating a brain cancer vaccine in patients with newly diagnosed brain cancer has begun at NYU Medical Center. The study will evaluate the addition of the vaccine following standard therapy with surgery and chemotherapy in patients with glioblastoma multiforme, a deadly form of brain cancer.

The vaccine, called DCVax-Brain, incorporates proteins found in patients’ tumors and is designed to attack cancer cells containing these proteins. The study underway at NYU Medical Center is an expansion of an earlier phase I trial of the vaccine. The vaccine is made by the Northwest Biotherapeutics, Inc., based in Bothell, Washington.

“We are really excited about the promise of this vaccine,” said Patrick J. Kelly, M.D., the chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery and the Joseph Ransohoff Professor of Neurosurgery at NYU School of Medicine. “Everything now depends on something in addition to surgery so that these tumors do not recur. A cancer vaccine like this may make a difference in extending life and maintaining a good quality of life.”

“This is a form of individualized therapy,” adds NYU neuro-oncologist Michael Gruber, M.D. “There is a lot of promise with this approach,” he says. He and Dr. Kelly will be the lead investigators conducting the trial at NYU.

Despite surgery and chemotherapy, patients with glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer typically survive about 15 months. Even if only a small number of tumor cells are left in the brain, that is enough for these fast growing and aggressive tumors to grow back. The tumors do not grow elsewhere in the body. “It is so frustrating,” notes Dr. Kelly, “because brain tumors don’t metastasize like other tumors. They recur locally but we just can’t cure it.”

A brain cancer vaccine is intended as a kind of immunotherapy, which means that it primes the patient’s own immune system to kill proteins found in cancer cells. The trial will enroll patients 18 to 65 years old with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer who will receive standard primary treatment with surgery followed by radiation with concurrent chemotherapy. Enrolled patients will be randomized to receive the standard of care, and others will receive the standard of care and the vaccine.

The vaccine will be made from the tumors and immune cells of each patient. When a patient’s tumor is removed during surgery it will be shipped to a laboratory where the tumor cells will be broken up to prepare the first component of the vaccine. Separately, patients’ dendritic cells, a powerful type of immune cell, will be obtained and sent to a laboratory for purification. Dendritic cells may be able to teach the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells. The patients’ tumor cell material is combined with the dendritic cells to form the vaccine.

Source: New York University Medical Center and School of Medicine

Explore further: Researchers find chemotherapy after bladder cancer surgery improved survival

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Huge spring tides draw crowds to French Atlantic coast

17 hours ago

France kicked off nearly a month of exceptionally large spring tides Saturday, as tourists flocked to coastal areas to witness spectacularly high water levels ahead of the so-called "tide of the century" ...

Water in Oregon pipeline is tapped for electricity

19 hours ago

Lucid Energy has developed a renewable energy system that makes use of water moving through pipelines. The company's LucidPipe Power System converts pressure in water pipelines into electricity. They have ...

Arctic oil drillers face tighter US rules to stop spills

21 hours ago

Royal Dutch Shell Plc and any oil drilling company that prospects in the Arctic Ocean must boost safety practices to prevent spills in the frigid and often hostile waters or mitigate the impact, U.S. regulators proposed Friday.

Recommended for you

Deodorant use ok for radiotherapy patients

Feb 27, 2015

Women undergoing radiotherapy for breast cancer can use deodorant without fear of increased underarm skin reaction, pain, itching or burning, research suggests.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.