Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Vaccine extends survival for patients with deadly brain cancers

Date:
October 4, 2010
Source:
Duke University Medical Center
Summary:
A new vaccine added to standard therapy appears to offer a survival advantage for patients suffering from glioblastoma, the most deadly form of brain cancer, according to a new study.

A new vaccine added to standard therapy appears to offer a survival advantage for patients suffering from glioblastoma (GBM), the most deadly form of brain cancer, according to a study from researchers at Duke University Medical Center and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Related Articles


The vaccine also knocks out a troublesome growth factor that characterizes the most aggressive form of the disease.

"About a third of all glioblastomas are fueled by a very aggressive cancer gene, called EGFRvIII; these tumors are the 'worst of the worst,'" said John Sampson, MD, PhD, the Robert H. and Gloria Wilkins Professor of Neurosurgery at Duke.

"Our study showed that the vaccine eliminated all of the cancer cells carrying this marker in all but one of our study participants," said Darell D. Bigner, MD, PhD, director of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center and the senior author of the study.

The EGFRvIII variant was co-discovered by Bert Vogelstein and Albert Wong at Johns Hopkins University and Bigner, at Duke.

The study, appearing in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, involved 18 patients newly diagnosed with GBM from Duke and MD Anderson and a matched set of 17 patients who served as controls. Patients in both groups received surgery, radiation and the chemotherapy drug temozolomide. Patients in the vaccine group began receiving injections one month after completing radiation and stayed on the vaccine as long as it appeared to be working.

Adding the vaccine to standard therapy extended median survival time from an expected 15 months to 26 months. Patients in the vaccine group also experienced a much longer progression-free survival period, 14.2 months, compared to 6.3 months for those who did not receive the vaccine.

Glioblastoma is the most common form of brain cancer with roughly 10,000 new cases arising in the U.S. each year. The presence of EGFRvIII allows cancer cells to grow wildly out of control, seeding new tumors throughout the brain. Despite some advances in radiation and chemotherapy, the prognosis for patients with such tumors is grim; on average they live just over one year following initial diagnosis.

Sampson says new therapies are critical. Over the past decade he and his research team have been working on several new vaccine strategies. The particular vaccine used in this study is called a peptide vaccine and was designed to stimulate the patient's immune systems to respond to a particular part of a protein on EGFRvIII.

Other brain tumor vaccine studies are in progress at other institutions with peptides drawn from the tumors and with heat shock proteins.

Researchers found that the vaccine (variously known as CDX-110 by Celldex Therapeutics, and Rindopepimut (PF-04948568) by Pfizer) stimulated an immune response in approximately half of the patients who received it. Six patients developed EGFRvIII-specific antibodies and three developed T-cell responses.

The data suggest that these responses are linked to increased survival time, "but the numbers are so small that we can not conclude this with any degree of certainty," says Amy Heimberger, MD, co-lead investigator, from MD Anderson.

Scientists were also able to examine pre- and post-vaccination tumor samples from 11 patients and found that when their tumors recurred, 82 percent lacked immunoreactivity, which Sampson says demonstrates that the vaccine had done its job in eliminating the most aggressive cells.

Sampson notes that the EGFRvIII vaccine may be worth further investigation because this growth factor is also found in other kinds of cancer cells, but not in normal tissue, making it a good target for intervention.

Bigner says that even though the study is small, the findings are intriguing and merit further study. "This appears to be a promising start, but the biological complexity of these tumors suggests that we may need multiple agents to attack additional markers of tumor growth or treatment resistance to be wholly successful."

Duke has a long history of vaccine design and Sampson says plans are already under way to couple the vaccine with another designed to strengthen T-cell responses.

Funding for the work came from the National Institutes of Health, the American Brain Tumor Association, Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, the Brain Tumor Society, the Commonwealth Cancer Foundation, the Adam Singer Foundation, the Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation and Golfers Against Cancer.

Colleagues who contributed to the study include Gary Archer, Allan Friedman, Henry Friedman, James Herndon II, Robert Schmittling, Roger McLendon, Duane Mitchell, David Reardon, and James Vredenburgh, from Duke; and Kenneth Aldape, Raymond Sawaya, Mark Gilbert, and Weiming Shi from MD Anderson.

Drs. Bigner, Heimberger and Sampson, along with Duke University and MD Anderson have potential conflicts of interest from consulting agreements, stock options and potential further licensing fees. Duke and MD Anderson have plans in place to manage any potential conflict of interest.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. John H. Sampson, Amy B. Heimberger, Gary E. Archer, Kenneth D. Aldape, Allan H. Friedman, Henry S. Friedman, Mark R. Gilbert, James E. Herndon Ii, Roger E. Mclendon, Duane A. Mitchell, David A. Reardon, Raymond Sawaya, Robert J. Schmittling, Weiming Shi, James J. Vredenburgh, and Darell D. Bigner. Immunologic Escape After Prolonged Progression-Free Survival With Epidermal Growth Factor ReceptorVariant III Peptide Vaccination in Patients With Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma. JCO, October 4, 2010 DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2010.28.6963

Cite This Page:

Duke University Medical Center. "Vaccine extends survival for patients with deadly brain cancers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101004162832.htm>.
Duke University Medical Center. (2010, October 4). Vaccine extends survival for patients with deadly brain cancers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101004162832.htm
Duke University Medical Center. "Vaccine extends survival for patients with deadly brain cancers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101004162832.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins