A New Glioblastoma Vaccine on the Horizon

Following encouraging results from a second phase of a phase 1 trial, the researchers have planned a second phase, to be initiated in January 2015. The vaccine will be administered to glioblastoma patients just before they begin chemotherapy.

Glioblastoma is the most common aggressive primary brain tumor, and despite advances in standard treatment, the median survival is about 15 months (compared to 4 months without treatment). Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University have been working on a cancer vaccine that would extend that survival by activating the patient's immune system to fight the brain tumor. A study published online November 13th in the journal Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy drilled down to the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind the vaccine, paving the way for further development and refinement of this new experimental treatment.

"In recent years, researchers and the public have begun to realize the role that the immune system plays in both cancer prevention and treatment," says senior author Craig Hooper, Ph.D., a Professor in the Department of Cancer Biology at Thomas Jefferson University. "The immune system has great potential for helping fight cancer. This study helps give us a roadmap for future brain cancer vaccines."

The study reports on the results of a second phase 1 clinical trial, after the first phase 1 trial in 2001 lead by David Andrews, M.D., Professor of Neurological surgery at Jefferson, saw tumor shrinkage in eight out of 12 patients tested. The vaccine consisted of portions of the patient's own tumor. Specifically, samples of the patients' tumor were removed during surgery, treated overnight with a drug, and packaged inside a diffusion chamber which was then inserted into the abdomen providing immune cells easy access. The drug in this therapy -- antisense oligodeoxynucleootides (AS-ODN) -- knocks down IGF-R1, a receptor shown to drive tumor growth and metastasis. Research had shown that blocking this receptor with agents like AS-ODN could cause the tumor cell to self-destruct.

Read the complete report here: http://bit.ly/1v93y5r