Charity bankrolls brain cancer vaccine trial

Cancer Research UK is set to begin a Phase I trial for glioblastoma, a deadly form of brain cancer. Forty-five patients have been recruited to receive the vaccine IMA950. The drug contains 11 peptides that are found in tumors but not healthy tissue. They "train" T cells in the immune system to recognize cancer cells as unhealthy cells--and then to target and destroy them. No other brain cancer vaccines in development work the same way. Cancer Research notes that using multiple peptides increases the chances of eliciting an immune response.

Cancer Research UK is a charity set up to fund trials of drugs for disease that might not otherwise garner industry attention. Should IMA950 perform well in Phase I, German developer Immatics Biotechnologies could exercise the option to oversee further development of the drug, in exchange for milestone payments to Cancer Research UK.

"One of the hardest parts of my job is telling someone they have brain cancer," said study leader Roy Rampling, a University of Glasgow professor. "Glioblastoma can be challenging to treat because there are limited options for therapy--there's a real need for new treatments for this disease."

- check out the Cancer Research release