Celldex vax extends life of brain tumor patients in study

A new vaccine produced by Celldex Therapeutics--CDX-110--added to standard therapy appears to offer a survival advantage for patients suffering from glioblastoma, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. In a study, median survival time was 26 months in the vaccine group compared with 15 months for a control group. Progression-free survival was 14.2 months in the vaccine group versus 6.3 months in the control group.

The study, appearing in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, involved 18 patients newly diagnosed with GBM from Duke and MD Anderson and a matched set of 17 patients who served as controls. Patients in both groups received surgery, radiation and the chemotherapy drug temozolomide. Patients in the vaccine group began receiving injections one month after completing radiation and stayed on the vaccine as long as it appeared to be working.

The vaccine targets a aggressive cancer gene called EGFRvIII that fuels glioblastomas, AFP notes. "About a third of all glioblastomas are fueled by a very aggressive cancer gene, called EGFRvIII; these tumors are the 'worst of the worst,'" says Duke Professor John Sampson. "Our study showed that the vaccine eliminated all of the cancer cells carrying this marker in all but one of our study participants," adds Darell Bigner, the senior author of the study. "EGFRvIII-targeted vaccination in patients with GBM warrants investigation in a [P]hase III, randomized trial," the authors write.

There are roughly 10,000 new cases of glioblastoma arising in the U.S. annually, and the forecast for diagnosed patients is grim, as AFP reports--they live on average just over one year after the first diagnosis.

Last month, Celldex's shares plummeted after Pfizer pulled out of an agreement to develop the treatment, the Motley Fool reports. Celldex's stock is up 34 percent since then.

- see the Duke release
- get the study abstract
- see AFP's coverage
- read more from Motley Fool

ALSO: Celldex Therapeutics has presented initial clinical data from a Phase I/II dose-escalating trial evaluating three doses of CDX-140, a novel antibody-based targeted cancer vaccine candidate being evaluated as a treatment for patients with melanoma and other cancers that express the tumor antigen NY-ESO-1, in combination with resiquimod. The treatment was well tolerated and the T cell responses were directed against multiple regions of the NY-ESO-1 antigen. Celldex release