Brain cancer vaccine shows promise

Officials with ImmunoCellular Therapeutics Ltd. announced las week that the early clinical trial of its brain cancer vaccine is showing progress, Reuters reports.

Dr. John Yu, director of surgical neuro-oncology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and ImmunoCellular's chief scientific officer, said 16 patients with glioblastoma multiforme, the most common and deadly form of brain cancer, participated in the phase 1 clinical trial.

The patients were treated with ICT-107, ImmunoCellular’s experimental dendritic cell based cancer vaccine, following the standard care of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

“We are targeting specific antigens that are on cancer stem cells...the only population of cells that can really propagate a tumor,” Yu told Reuters.

All of the patients were alive one year after diagnosis and 80 percent survived for two years 80 percent, according to the study. Yu said that, historically, only 61 percent of glioblastoma patients are alive after a single year and only 26.5 percent are alive after two years.

Median overall survival has not yet been reached at the 26.4 months analysis point, with 12 out of 16 patients alive, according to the report.

Yu noted that seven patients continued to live with no disease progression and that the only side effects observed during the clinical trial include fatigue and skin rash.

Yu said mid-stage trial of the vaccine, which will include between 30 and 50 patients, is planned for the near future.