The latest research compared survival of patients with diagnosed terminal brain tumour who were treated with standard methods and with the use of experimental vaccine developed individually for every patient. The results have shown that the use of the vaccine brings very beneficial effects and prolong life of the patients.
2% of all diagnosed tumours are brain tumours. According to WHO, the most malignant among them is Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM). It is primary malign tumour of glial basis, which is found mainly in brain’s hemispheres – in frontal and temporal lobes. GBM is characterized by infiltrating growth and fast spread in the area of surrounding brain tissue what significantly impede complete resection. Most often GBM appears between 45 and 70 year of life. In most of cases its etiology is not known.
As scientists working under the guidance of doctor Orin Bloch from Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago explain, standard treatment of GBM patients in a form of surgical resection, chemotherapy and radiotherapy is usually ineffective. That is why average survival time of the patients is from 3 to 9 months. This fact has become a reason for searching new therapeutic methods which will allow to delay tumour’s progression.
It has led to the development of the vaccine called HSPPC-96 (Heat-Shock Peptide Protein Complex-96). It is the first vaccine used in GBM treatment. It is produced for every patient individually by using own tumour tissue obtained from surgical resection. Mechanism of the vaccine is based on activation of immunological system’s response in order to destroy tumour cells left in the brain after the surgery.
In the second phase of clinical research the scientists tested HSPPC-96 in 41 adults with recurring GBM. Every patient was administered 6 doses. After 6 months about 90% of the researched were still alive and after a year- 30%. According to doctor Bloch the results are very promising, especially when it comes to comparison with almost 100% mortality after a year from the diagnosis and after the standard treatment.
Further research are needed before HSPPC-96 will be introduced to common use. The scientists plan to assess whether the vaccine is safe and more effective if administered with bevacizumab, which is a standard drug used in case of recurrent GBM. The drug as the only one causes decrease of the tumour’s size.
According to doctor Andrew Parsa from Northwestern Feinburg School of Medicine, owing to such type of research GBM will transform in the future from terminal and incurable tumour to chronic disease with which it will be possible to live and which can be easily controlled.
Written by: Karolina Gasińska, Anna Szajerska
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