Company: ImmunoCellular Therapeutics
Like a growing number of therapeutic vaccines in development, ICT-107 takes advantage of the role that dendritic cells play in the normal immune response. Cells of this type show or "present" other actors of the immune system with antigens that identify foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses, or home-grown troublemakers like tumors. They flag things that need to be destroyed.
ICT-107 presents the body with multiple antigens associated with glioblastoma, a fast-moving and deadly form of brain cancer. ImmunoCellular Therapeutics recently began a Phase II trial of the vaccine candidate, after an initial study in 16 newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients delivered a three-year overall survival rate of 55%, compared with 16% based on historical standard of care (SOC).
Patients in the Phase I trial received three injections of ICT-107 in addition to standard treatment with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. The data revealed that 38% of newly diagnosed patients who received the vaccine candidate continued to show no tumor recurrence after three years. Of these patients, 19% remain disease-free after more than four years. The company previously reported a two-year survival rate of 80.2% in study patients-significantly better than the historic median two-year survival rate of 26.5% with standard treatment only. No serious adverse events have been reported and minor side effects have been limited to fatigue, skin rash and the sensation of itching.
Dendritic cells have been in the news lately: The 2011 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine was awarded to Ralph M. Steinman, for his discovery of their vital role in the adaptive immune system. He was one of the researchers to name them in 1973, although they had been described early in the 19th century. Increasing understanding of dendritic cells is an important factor driving therapeutic vaccination from concept to practice.