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Landmark brain cancer vaccine passes first phase of human trials

Apr, 2021

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A new vaccine is being developed to help immune cells target a mutation found only in brain tumors.

A ground-breaking Phase 1 human trial testing a novel vaccine intended to support a patient's immunity system aim brain tumors better and has yielded promising results, according to a new article published in the journal Nature. According to the findings, the trial vaccine is absolutely safe and induces a strong response from immune system that delays tumor progression. A Phase 2 study with a larger sample size is in the process of being prepared.

Diffuse gliomas are a type of brain cancer that is especially difficult to be treated. They are capable of spreading throughout, making conventional surgery difficult to remove, but they all have one thing in common: over 70% of down-grade gliomas have one gene mutation causing an effect on an enzyme called isocitrate dehydrogenase 1. (IDH1).

This particular IDH1 mutation is only found in gliomas, and it results in the development of new proteins known as neo-epitopes. Michael Platten of the German Cancer Research Center has been working on a vaccine that will teach a patient's immune system to target these IDH1-mutated cells for years.

The researchers started a human trials of the developed novel IDH1 vaccine in 2015, after several years of growth and animal testing. The first move was to see if the vaccine was safe in humans and to see the form of immune reaction it elicited.

A total of thirty three patients with recently diagnosed IDH1 glioma were included in the study. The findings of that Phase 1 trial, which were recently released, show that the trial vaccine is harmless to use and has no serious side effects as reported.

When the researchers looked at immune reactions, they discovered that ninety three percent of patients had a positive review to the vaccine. In those who responded, immune T cells especially aiming at the IDH1 mutation were discovered. The results of the new study were published in the journal Nature.

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