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Mayo Clinic tests novel vaccine for aggressive brain tumors
Date:10/22/2007

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. − A vaccine that has significantly increased life expectancy in early tests of patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) − the most common, most aggressive form of brain cancer in adults − is now being offered through a clinical trial at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.

The vaccine represents a fresh and fairly simple approach to treating this cancer, says neurosurgeon Kent New, M.D., Ph.D., who will be leading the study at Mayo. About 40% of these tumors display a particular protein on their surface and the vaccine is designed to trick the patients immune system into thinking the protein is foreign in order to mount a killing response.

We are pleased to have a new and promising therapy to offer patients who want to participate in this clinical trial, says Dr. New. The results, so far, have exceeded expectations.

Earlier studies of the vaccine at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Duke University Medical Center showed that median survival for the 39 GBM patients tested increased by more than 50 percent compared to the typical outcome. Additionally, the time it took tumors to begin growing again was doubled.

Dr. New cautioned, however, that it is unknown whether the vaccine added to standard treatment (surgery followed by radiation and chemotherapy) will ultimately produce any better outcome than the standard treatment alone. By comparing standard therapy plus the vaccine to standard therapy alone, we hope to determine the true benefit of the vaccine he says.

According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 20,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2007 and almost 13,000 will die from the cancer. GBM, the most common primary brain tumor, is considered incurable; most patients die within a year of diagnosis.

Twenty or more centers nationwide will participate in the clinical trial initially, which is being sponsored by Celld
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Contact: Cynthia Nelson
nelson.cynthia1@mayo.edu
904-953-0464
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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