Researchers study vaccine as potential weapon against aggressive brain tumors

July 24, 2012

Researchers at Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute (NBTI) are seeking to understand if a vaccine made from a patient's own blood cells may slow the growth of a type of brain tumor. The trial is studying the vaccine's effect on glioblastoma multiformes (GBM), the most common and aggressive type of primary brain tumor. The trial is an example of a growing trend in cancer research that seeks to understand if vaccines can be used to turn a person's own immune system into a weapon against cancers by slowing the growth of tumors.

GBMs, which occur in up to 10,000 Americans annually, are typically treated with surgical resection of the tumor followed by chemotherapy and . "Glioblastomas are complicated to treat because they are aggressive, fast-growing tumors that are often resistant to standard treatment," said principal investigator James Chandler, MD, co-director of the NBTI and surgical director of neuro-oncology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "In this trial, a vaccine is made using the person's own , which we hope will have the power to stimulate an immune response to kill brain tumor cells."

The vaccine, called ICT-107, is created by collecting the participant's white blood cells through a process called apheresis, which separates the components in the blood. The white blood cells are then treated to recognize the tumor cells turning them into , which early research indicates may be able to recognize and attack the . Patients receive the vaccine in addition to standard treatment.

"Vaccines hold great promise as potential treatments for all types of cancer," said Chandler, who is also a professor of neurological surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "More researchers are looking at this as a way to prompt an immune response to slow and fight the cancer."

The phase II trial will examine both safety and efficacy of the ICT-107 vaccine. Researchers seek to enroll approximately 225 participants nationally who are newly diagnosed with a GBM. To be considered for enrollment, a person must be 18 years or older and not have a recurrent disease or any other active malignancy or history of malignancy. They must have undergone surgery to excise the GBM, but have not yet started chemotherapy or radiation. Full inclusion and exclusion criteria can be found on ClinicalTrials.gov.

" are a devastating diagnosis and these patients unfortunately are not given a great deal of time," said Chandler. "Our goal at Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute is to provide patients with the best options to treat their cancer in a manner that not only gives them longer lives, but also improved quality of life."

Explore further: Novel brain tumor vaccine acts like bloodhound to locate cancer cells

Related Stories

Novel brain tumor vaccine acts like bloodhound to locate cancer cells

January 5, 2012
A national clinical trial testing the efficacy of a novel brain tumor vaccine has begun at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, the only facility in the Southeast to participate.

New brain vaccine aims to turn fatal disease into chronic illness

November 29, 2011
When U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy was diagnosed with a glioblastoma of the brain in May 2009, doctors understood there was little chance he could survive it. He died that August.

Recommended for you

What does hair loss have to teach us about cancer metastasis?

December 15, 2017
Understanding how cancer cells are able to metastasize—migrate from the primary tumor to distant sites in the body—and developing therapies to inhibit this process are the focus of many laboratories around the country. ...

Cancer immunotherapy may work better in patients with specific genes

December 15, 2017
Cancer cells arise when DNA is mutated, and these cells should be recognized as "foreign" by the immune system. However, cancer cells have found ways to evade detection by the immune system.

Scientists pinpoint gene to blame for poorer survival rate in early-onset breast cancer patients

December 15, 2017
A new study led by scientists at the University of Southampton has found that inherited variation in a particular gene may be to blame for the lower survival rate of patients diagnosed with early-onset breast cancer.

'Bet hedging' explains the efficacy of many combination cancer therapies

December 14, 2017
The efficacy of many FDA-approved cancer drug combinations is not due to synergistic interactions between drugs, but rather to a form of "bet hedging," according to a new study published by Harvard Medical School researchers ...

Scientists unlock structure of mTOR, a key cancer cell signaling protein

December 14, 2017
Researchers in the Sloan Kettering Institute have solved the structure of an important signaling molecule in cancer cells. They used a new technology called cryo-EM to visualize the structure in three dimensions. The detailed ...

Liquid biopsy results differed substantially between two providers

December 14, 2017
Two Johns Hopkins prostate cancer researchers found significant disparities when they submitted identical patient samples to two different commercial liquid biopsy providers. Liquid biopsy is a new and noninvasive alternative ...

0 comments

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.