Brain Cancer vaccine trial - King's College London and King's College Hospital

Brain Cancer vaccine trial - King's College London and  King's College Hospital

Posted on 14/05/2012

A brain cancer trial that uses a patient's tumour to develop their own personalised vaccine is being piloted for the first time in the UK.

King's College London and  King's College Hospital  – both part of King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre – will be the first in the UK to jointly trial the DCVax® therapy which is already significantly extending life for patients in a US trial.

From July, King's will begin 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 around 12 -18 months. However, in two initial clinical trials in the US, the vaccine delayed the recurrence of the tumour to two years, and extended patients' average survival to three years – 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 at King's College London. There, experts will use each patient's tumour 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. There will be up to ten injections in total, administered over a two 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 are now helping to bring to the UK.'

King's sees and treats hundreds of Glioblastoma patients each year, many of whom are in their 40's and 50's. Symptoms of Glioblastoma include severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, fits, dizziness and speech problems.

Farzin Farzaneh, Professor of Molecular Medicine and head of cGMP cell product manufacturing at King's College London, said: 'We are excited to be undertaking the manufacture of the vaccine here at King's. Such immune therapies represent an exciting new class of products, and we are pleased to apply our expertise and facilities for cell therapy to help bring DCVax® immune therapies to the UK and to collaborating centres in Europe.'

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

For further information about King's, visit our 'King's in Brief' page.