Experimental vaccine for the most deadly brain cancer / Research Suggestions

Gliobastoma (astrocytoma) WHO grade IV - MRI coronal view, post contrast. 15 year old boy (Credit: Christaras A/Wikimedia Commons)

Main Point:

Scientists have prolonged the survival of patients of brain tumor with the help of an experimental vaccine made from the tissue taken from the patient’s own cancerous part.

Published in:


Study Further:

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM):

GBM is one of the most deadly types of primary brain tumor in humans because despite of treatment, it almost always comes back. Standard therapies are often unable to prolong survival in this cancer and median survival is 3-9 months for a recurrent tumor.

“We are talking about fast-growing tumors that invade normal brain tissue and are very difficult to treat,” Orin Bloch, MD, a neurosurgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and lead author of the study, said in a statement. “These tumors occur in up to 23,000 Americans annually, and are typically treated with surgical resection of the tumor followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatment.”

Present Study:

In the present study, i.e. an analysis of phase 2 trial, scientists worked on 41 adult patients with recurrent tumors between 2007 and 2011. They took the cancerous part of the patients, developed vaccine; dubbed HSPPC-96 vaccine (Heat-shock protein peptide complex–96), from it and used it against the tumor and found improved survival of patients as compared to patients, who received the standard therapy alone.

Scientists found that 90% of patients were alive at 6 months and 30% were alive after one year.

Northwestern Medicine researchers are working on the efficacy of this vaccine with Avastin (bevacizumab), i.e. a standard treatment for recurrent GBM and used to reduce brain tumors.

Research Suggestions:

“The HSPPC-96 vaccine is safe and warrants further study of efficacy for the treatment of recurrent GBM. Significant pretreatment lymphopenia may impact the outcomes of immunotherapy and deserves additional investigation,” Scientists concluded.


Personalized vaccine for most lethal type of brain tumor shows promise – EurekAlert (http://goo.gl/Gpe8Jn)

Orin Bloch et al. (2013). Heat-shock protein peptide complex–96 vaccination for recurrent glioblastoma: a phase II, single-arm trial Neuro-Oncology DOI: 10.1093/neuonc/not203

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutics, in Hajvery University, Lahore, Pakistan.