A new vaccine is being tested, and is giving patients with aggressive brain tumors a few more precious months to live. Researchers are hoping the vaccine, which is actually made from brain-tumor tissue from its eventual recipients, may be a breakthrough in terms of cancer treatment.
Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, N.J., has four patients who are participating in the clinical trial of the vaccine, according to The Record of New Jersey. In total, more than 30 patients in eight hospitals across the national are taking part in the trial, which is being funded by the National Cancer Society, Agenus, which produces vaccines, and patient advocacy groups, The Record reported.
The vaccine is targeted at aggressive brain tumors called glioblastomas, deadly cancer that usually gives patients only three to five years to live, according to The Record.
To participate in the trial, a patient has to have had their brain tumor taken out. That tissue is sent to Agenus in Massachusetts, which creates a vaccine from it. That vaccine is then administered to the person whose brain tumor was used to create it, The Record reported.
The idea of the vaccine is to cause the patient’s immune system to attack any remaining or new brain cancer cells. And according to The Record, using a vaccine made from a patient’s own cancer cells get the most effective response from that person’s immune system.
Here is what’s happened with prior trials of the new vaccine, The Record reported. About 40 patients had a median survival time of 47.6 weeks, and 91 percent lived six months, the paper said. By contrast, 86 patients who didn’t get the vaccine only had a median survival time of 32.8 weeks, with 68 percent living for six months, according to The Record.