New brain cancer vaccines target tumor cells

CNN takes an in-depth look at the research being done on new therapeutic vaccines for glioblastoma, a lethal brain cancer that has virtually always carried a death sentence with each diagnosis.

One prominent project involves CDX-110, a vaccine that was first developed at Celldex and then partnered with Pfizer, which triggers a T-cell attack on EGFR factor three, a protein produced by 40 percent of tumor cells.

Dr. John Sampson tells CNN that EGFRviii is a kind of genetic fingerprint that plays a crucial role in spurring a targeted immune response.

But a separate program underway at UC San Francisco is even more targeted. University researchers are developing a therapeutic vaccine using the tumor cells taken from each patient. In this case the target is heat-shock protein, also made by tumor cells. And the work is completely funded by the NCI and non-profit groups.

"This is the ultimate personalized medicine," says Dr. Andrew Parsa. "It's like having a lot of little medicines instead of one big blockbuster."

- here's the story from CNN