A brain cancer vaccine from Immunocellular Therapeutics (IMUC) has yielded positive results in a small Phase I clinical trial, reports Fierce Biotech. The study involved only 16 patients with glioblastoma multiforme, the most common form of brain cancer. The patients received the ICT-107 vaccine in combination with conventional treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy. Half of the group remained alive at 18 months with no progression of the disease, and 7 out of 16 patients remain alive with no disease progression at an average of 29 months. The overall patient survival rate was 100 percent at one year and 80 percent at two years, compared to a historical survival rate with standard therapy of 61.1 percent at one year and 26.5 percent at two years. ICT-107 is a dendritic cell-based vaccine that uses the patient’s own cells to provoke a disease-fighting response.
Glioblastoma is difficult to treat, in part because the tumor cells rapidly spread to healthy parts of the brain. The cancer returns in most patients who undergo tumor removal surgery. Researchers in Germany were recently able to analyze “forgotten” tumor cells for the first time, reports Medical News Today. The researchers were surprised to discover that cells in the vicinity of the tumor had different properties than cells in the center of the tumor—for example, reacting differently to radiation therapy and chemotherapy drugs–which may explain why so many patients relapse. The research could pave the way for a new approach to cancer treatment.
Other companies working to treat this aggressive form of cancer include Pharmacyclics (PCYC), developer of small-molecule drugs; Protox Therapeutics (OTC:PTXRF), which is working on a protein-derived targeted therapy to treat glioblastoma; and MagForce Nanotechnologies, which is testing a glioblastoma treatment that utilizes magnetic nanoparticles.
In the video below, Manish Singh, President and CEO of Immunocellular Therapeutics, discusses his company with William Dawson of LifeTech Capital at the 2010 OneMedForum: