An international Phase III study led by researchers at UCLA and at Northwest Biotherapeutics, Inc. has found that a personalized glioblastoma vaccine may increase long-term survival in some patients. Nearly 30 percent of patients in the current trial have now survived at least three years post-enrollment, with patients continuing to be followed over time.
The vaccine, known as DCVax-L, uses a patient’s own dendritic cells to help activate the immune system to fight cancer. Currently, median survival for glioblastoma is 15 to 17 months, and less than 5 percent of glioblastoma patients who receive standard care survive five years.
The interim findings from the study, which is still in progress, were published May 29 in the Journal of Translational Medicine. The study is the largest trial to date testing a customized vaccine in patients diagnosed with the deadly brain cancer.
“The survival rate is quite remarkable compared to what would be expected for glioblastoma,” said lead author Dr. Linda Liau, chair of the neurosurgery department at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a member of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. “What’s particularly impressive about immunotherapy trials is that there seems to be a population of
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