Duke University

October 7, 2010 by USA Post 

Duke University, A new vaccine to standard therapy to prolong survival of people with the deadliest form of brain cancer in a small study.

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center and University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report that the case-control study included 35 patients newly diagnosed with brain cancer known as glioblastoma (GBM). Patients were divided into two groups: two received surgery, radiotherapy and the chemotherapy drug temozolomide, but a group of 18 patients also started receiving injections of the vaccine one month after new radiation and continued to receive the vaccine as it appeared to be effective.

The median survival for those in the vaccine group was 26 months versus 15 months for the control group. Progression-free survival was 14.2 months in the vaccine group, compared to 6.3 months in the control group.

The vaccine appears to stimulate an immune response in about half of patients who received it, suggesting that responses were related to survival time has increased, but the numbers are so low that we can not conclude this with a any degree of certainty, “Dr. Amy Heimberger, co-principal investigator of MD Anderson, said in a news release from Duke.

The vaccine knocks a growth factor associated with the most aggressive form of brain cancer.

“About a third of all glioblastomas are powered by a very aggressive cancer gene, called EGFRvIII, and these tumors are the” worst of the worst “,” Dr. John Sampson, professor of neurosurgery at Duke University Medical Center, said in the news release.

The presence of EGFRvIII cancer cells to multiply out of control, seeding new tumors in the brain, the researchers said. Even with the advances in chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the prognosis for patients with glioblastoma is poor, with a median survival one year after diagnosis.

About 10,000 new cases of glioblastoma occur in the United States each year.

“Our study showed that the vaccine has eliminated all the cancer cells bearing this marker in all but one of our study participants,” study lead author Dr. Darell D. Bigner, director of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, said in news release. (Bigner is one of three scientists who discovered the gene variant EGFRvIII.)

Celldex Therapeutics or PF-04948568 by Pfizer knows the vaccine as CDX-110.

The study is published online in the Oct.4 Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Drs. Bigner, Heimberger and Sampson, with Duke University and MD Anderson, have potential conflicts of interest consulting agreements, stock options and fees possible, depending on the base material for the study. Duke and MD Anderson have plans in place to manage potential conflicts of interest, the statement said.

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