A new article published in the journal Nature is reporting promising results from a landmark Phase 1 human trial testing a novel vaccine designed to help a patient’s immune system better target brain tumors. The data suggests the experimental vaccine is safe and stimulates a significant immune response that slows tumor progression. A larger Phase 2 trial is currently being planned.
Diffuse gliomas are a particularly difficult kind of brain cancer to treat. They can spread across the brain making it difficult to easily eliminate them through traditional surgery, but these tumors do often share a common feature – over 70 percent of low-grade gliomas have a single gene mutation affecting an enzyme called isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1).
This IDH1 mutation is unique to gliomas and leads to the creation of novel proteins called neo-epitopes. Michael Platten, from the German Cancer Research Center, has been working for years to create a vaccine that helps a patient’s immune system learn to target these IDH1 mutated cells.