Creating a Vaccine for Aggressive Brain Cancers

Monday, January 6, 2014 - 7:49am
Chair, Department of Neurosurgery

The most common malignant primary brain tumor is called glioblastoma multiforme. These tumors are often aggressive and infiltrate surrounding brain tissue. They occur in glial cells, which are cells that form the tissue that surrounds and protects other nerve cells found within the brain and spinal cord.

We are very interested in finding new ways to treat brain cancer—things that improve on the drugs and treatments of the past, both surgical and radiation-based therapies.

Despite some advances in treatment over the years, this type of tumor is still a formidable disease. Even after surgery and chemotherapy, patients can have failure of their treatment and their tumor can reoccur.

Over the last decade we have developed a vaccine here at Roswell Park that can be used to stimulate the immune system to attack brain cancer cells. We have tested our vaccine in laboratory models and it has worked very well.

We are now at the point of conducting additional clinical trials in patients with malignant brain tumors that have recurred after standard therapy has failed. We learned a great deal during the first stage of our research, and we are now planning a second study based on those results.

This study will allow us to learn which exact patient population might benefit most from this type of vaccine. We are hopeful this vaccine may provide one additional component of treatment that is very safe, that has low toxicity, and that someday can help us create cures.

For more information about Roswell Park’s Neuro-Oncology Center, visit https://www.roswellpark.org/cancer/brain, or call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724).