A Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI)-developed SurVaxM vaccine for glioblastoma brain cancers is being trialled in combination with standard chemotherapy as treatment for this often-fatal cancer.

Approximately 50 patients at Roswell Park and the Cleveland Clinic will be part of the trial.

Glioblastoma is the common and aggressive type of primary brain tumour. The SurVaxM vaccine is engineered to treat survivin-expressing cancer cells.

Roswell Park neurosurgery and oncology professor Dr Fenstermaker said: "Our first clinical study established that this vaccine appears to have low toxicity, that it generated the tumour-specific immune response we were looking for and that some patients seemed to benefit from it.

"Seven of the eight patients who received all doses of the vaccine, all of whom had failed standard therapy, survived longer than a year."

"While it was a small study, seven of the eight patients who received all doses of the vaccine, all of whom had failed standard therapy, survived longer than a year, some much longer. In a disease where few survive beyond eight months, that’s an important signal."

For the single-arm Phase II study, all the 50 patients will be given the vaccine in combination with temozolomide (Temodar), the standard chemotherapy for glioblastoma.

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The participants will receive the vaccine in four doses over the first eight weeks of treatment, and once every 12 weeks from that point on.

Roswell Park Department of Neurosurgery assistant professor Dr Ciesielski said: "We’ll be looking to see if patients who receive the vaccine in addition to standard therapy do better than patients who receive standard therapy alone.

"In glioblastoma, a patient’s immune system is healthiest early in the course of the disease, right after they’ve had surgery.

"So we’re particularly excited about the opportunity to be giving the vaccine up front, in patients who are most likely to benefit."