The world’s first vaccine to treat deadly cancers could give patients years of extra life, an international clinical trial has concluded.
A senior NHS doctor, one of the trial’s principal investigators, said the evidence showed DCVax gave patients a “dramatic” improved survival.
The discovery could benefit the 2,500 people diagnosed each year in the UK. glioblastoma It is the most common brain cancer and also one of the most aggressive. People with the disease live only 12-18 months after diagnosis, and some even less.
A patient in A 331-person multicenter international study He lived more than eight years after receiving DCVax. In Britain, 53-year-old Nigel French is still alive after seven years.
“The overall results are amazing,” he said Professor Kumar AshkanA neurosurgeon at King’s College Hospital in London who was the European Chief Investigator. “The final results of this phase III trial … offer new hope for patients battling glioblastoma.
The vaccine “has been shown to prolong life and surprisingly in patients who are normally considered to have a poor prognosis,” such as the elderly and those for whom surgery is not an option, he said.
If approved by medical regulators, DCVax would be the first new treatment for newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients in 17 years and the first treatment for relapsed patients in 27 years.
Trial researchers found that newly diagnosed patients who received the vaccine survived an average of 19.3 months, compared to 16.5 months for those who received the placebo.
Participants with recurrent glioblastoma who received DCVax lived an average of 13.2 months after receiving it, compared to only 7.8 months for those who did not.
A total of 13% of those who received the test lived for at least five years, compared to only 5.7% of the control group, according to the results of the trial published on Thursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Association of Oncology.
The vaccine is an immune system in which the body’s immune system is programmed to track and attack the tumor. It is the first to deal with brain tumors.
“The vaccine works by stimulating the patient’s own immune system to fight the tumor. It works with the patient’s immune system, which is the most intelligent known to man, to provide a personalized solution, Ashkan said.
“The vaccine is made by combining proteins from the patient’s tumor with their white blood cells. This teaches the white cells to recognize the tumor.
“When the vaccine is given, these educated white blood cells help the rest of the patient’s immune system understand what it needs to fight and destroy the tumor. It’s almost like training a sniffer dog.”
The vaccine is not yet available on the NHS. But Northwest Biotherapeutics, the US company that operates it, plans to seek regulatory approval to make it available.
Charity organization Brain tumor research “Patients who are long-starved for new treatment options” should be able to access the treatment to prolong their lives, he said.
“DCVax represents the first treatment to be proven effective in treating glioblastoma since temozolomide chemotherapy in 2005 and the hope of the brain tumor community is that it will be affordable – and possibly treatment-standard – available on the NHS,” said Dr Karen Noble, the charity’s director of research, policy and innovation.
“The average survival time for glioblastoma is abysmal – 12 to 18 months. Stories like Mr. French’s are rare but incredibly welcome. We are very encouraged by the final results of this trial,” she added.
Of the 331 patients in the eight-year trial, 20 were at King’s or University College London Hospital in England. A total of 232 participants had DCVax and 99 a placebo. All 331 had surgery to remove as much of their tumor as possible with radiotherapy and chemotherapy, which is the standard treatment for glioblastoma.
Dr Henry Stennett, research data manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “That’s the exciting part. [the vaccine] It can improve outcomes for people who don’t usually respond well to treatment. While it still needs to go through rigorous regulatory approval, it could be a major step toward defeating this type of brain tumor.