Kings College London trials a brain tumour vaccine

King’s College Hospital, London, has launched the first trial in Europe of the DCVax® therapy, a brain tumour ‘vaccine’ that uses the patient’s cancer cells to prepare a ‘personalised’ vaccine. In American trials the vaccine extended survival times significantly.

In May 2013 King’s – part of King’s Health Partners AHSC – began recruiting patients newly diagnosed with Glioblastoma mulltiforme (GBM) - the most common and most aggressive primary malignant form of brain cancer.

Current survival time in the UK following Glioblastoma diagnosis is usually around 12 -18 months. In two initial clinical trials in America, the vaccine delayed the recurrence of the tumour for two years, and extended patients’ average survival to three years (and substantially longer in a number of patients, with two patients having reached 10 years so far) – without toxic side effects.

Patients with suspected Glioblastoma undergo immediate surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible. Patients on the trial will have the same surgery but the removed tumour will be sent to a specialised facility in Germany.
At the same time, patients’ own blood is used to prepare their immune cells. In Germany, experts will put the two together (the patient’s immune cells and biomarkers from their tumour tissue) to develop a personalised vaccine using the DCVax® immune therapy.

Following six weeks of standard combined radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the first personalised vaccine will be administered as a simple injection under the skin in the arm. In all, there are up to ten injections, administered over a three year period.

Mr Keyoumars Ashkan, Lead for Neuro-Oncology at King’s College Hospital said: “We are pleased to be leading the way in bringing these novel immune therapies to patients in the UK. Brain cancers are some of the most lethal cancers, and there is a great need for new and better treatments. The positive data from the clinical trials in the US were very encouraging in delaying disease progression and extending survival times, without significant toxic side effects. We are hopeful that similar results will be seen in the large, randomised clinical trial which we have now launched in the UK.”

"This is an important landmark, as we begin patient recruitment in our pioneering Phase III trial of DCVax-L for brain cancer in Europe,” commented Linda Powers, CEO of NW Bio. “This is one of the first late-stage clinical trials with active immune therapies in Europe, and is bringing patients a much needed new treatment option. We are excited to be launching this trial with Kings College Hospital, one of Europe’s premier opinion-leader institutions."

DCVax® is a personalised immune therapy developed by US company Northwest Biotherapeutics.

Do you meet the selection criteria for this trial?

Trial recruitment is now open and Mr Ashkan, Consultant Neurosurgeon at King’s, will be specifically looking for patients who meet the following criteria:

• Patients must be entitled to NHS treatment;
• Aged 18 to 70 years;
• Confirmed diagnosis of Glioblastoma mulltiforme for which surgery HASN’T already been carried out;
• Treatment will be carried out at hospitals that are part of King’s Health Partners AHSC in London. Being part of the trial will require regular trips to the hospital for treatment.

For further information please contact:
Laura Carpenter
Communications Manager
laura.carpenter@nhs.net
Extension: +44 (0)20 3299 3850:

 

July - Oct 2013 Cancer Watch
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