Brain Tumour UK welcomes brain cancer vaccine trial

Jenny Baker OBE, Chief Executive of Brain Tumour UK, has welcomed a pioneering treatment that could double survival times for hundreds of patients with aggressive brain tumours which is being piloted in the UK.

The brain cancer trial uses a patient’s tumour to develop a personalised vaccine that will be injected into the patient’s arm to try to extend his or her life.

King’s College London and King’s College Hospital 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.

The vaccine is aimed at patients with Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) the most common and most aggressive type of primary brain tumour, which currently has a survival time in the UK of around 12-18 months from diagnosis. Initial trials of the vaccine in the US have extended patients’ average survival to three years – without toxic side effects.

GBM patients usually undergo immediate surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible. Patients recruited for the trial will still have the operation, but experts will use the removed tumour to develop a personalised vaccine.

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.”

Jenny Baker OBE, Chief Executive of Brain Tumour UK, said: "Any launch of a clinical trial in the fight against brain tumours is great news. Too few brain tumour patients are given the opportunity to participate in clinical trials, and Brain Tumour UK is campaigning hard to increase this."

"This trial explores exactly the type of innovative treatment we need to reduce the devastating impact of brain tumours in the country. Research into brain tumours is completely underfunded in the UK, but more investment into research would lead to better treatments and saved lives.”

More information on the Kings College London trial is available here.

Release date: 16.05.12

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