A breakthrough new vaccine to treat deadly brain tumours has just passed phase 3 trials.
The vaccine, named DCVax-L, targets the most common and aggressive brain tumour called Glioblastoma, which affects 2,500 people in the UK alone each year.
On average people who are diagnosed with Glioblastoma are given just 15 to 17 months to live, with the 5 year survival rate being around 5%. Initial data from the trial shows that the treatment adds 2.8 months of additional life on average, with the 48 month survival rate increasing to 15.7%.
Personalised immunotherapy treatments
The treatment is a personalised immunotherapy vaccine made using a sample of the patient’s dendritic cells, which has been taken from their tumour.
The dendritic cells are a type of immune cell called an antigen-presenting cells (APCs), whose job is to present negative pathogens to other cells of the immune system.
In this immunotherapy, the dendritic cells are separated from the patient’s blood and then exposed to the cancer cells where they learn to recognise markers and proteins in the patient’s tumour cells.
The cells are then injected back into the patient where they teach other immune cells known as T-cells to recognise and attack the cancer using the patient’s own immune system.
Dr David Jenkinson the Chief Scientific Officer at The Brain Tumour Charity in the UK said:
“Glioblastomas remain the most common and most aggressive form of brain cancer and with so few treatments available, thousands affected by the disease in the UK each year are in urgent need of new options. It is fantastic to see that many years of research and innovation may now be on the cusp of delivering a long-awaited new therapy for those living with glioblastomas.”
Jenkinson went on to say “We need to wait for these results to be independently validated, but we are now really hopeful that DCVax-L may represent the first new treatment able to offer life-extension to people living with a glioblastoma in over fifteen years.”
Trial Deemed a Success
During the trial over 2,100 doses of DCVax-L were administered with only 5 adverse events that could have been related to the treatment recorded. Overall the study showed that adding DCVax-L to the existing standard care treatment led to a improved outcomes and extension of life for patients, and with minimal risks. Northwest Biotherapeutics is currently working towards gaining regulatory approval of DCVax®-L.