First human tests of the brain cancer vaccine completed

Photo by the author
by Gianluca Riccio

Medicine

First human tests of the brain cancer vaccine completed

A team of German scientists has tested a special vaccine in humans for the first time designed to help the body fight brain cancer.

As explained in a new article published in the magazine Nature , the research team of the German Cancer Research Center (DFKZ) ha creato una prima versione di una vaccinazione che potrebbe innescare una risposta immunitaria all’interno dei tessuti di un cancro al cervello.

Some types of brain cancer are now incurable. They are called diffuse gliomas and can spread throughout the brain making them nearly impossible to remove. In addition, they often do not respond effectively to chemo and radiation therapy.

But they seem to have a weakness: a particular genetic mutation.

The killer's signature

Una sorta di “bug” nel DNA fa sì che una proteina speciale venga scambiata nell’enzima IDH1, una struttura proteica nota come “neo-epitope". The immune system is able to recognize this protein as foreign, plus it is not found in healthy tissues. This makes her the perfect target for a treatment.

Our idea was to support the immune system of patients with brain cancer and to use a vaccine as a targeted way to alert them to that specific neo-epitope. cancer

Michael Platten, a capo della ricerca – estratto dal Press release
Brain Cancer Vaccine
Michael Platten

New brain cancer vaccine research

It is not an attempt that is born today. This recent study builds on previous efforts to create an artificial version of the IDH1 segment responsible for the genetic mutation that "unmasks" brain cancer. In 2019, the first version of a preparation was able to stop the growth of cancer cells in mice.

Oggi, lo stesso team spera che il trattamento funzioni in questi primi studi clinici di fase 1 sull’uomo, che coinvolgono 33 pazienti in tutta la Germania. Non sono stati registrati effetti collaterali nei pazienti vaccinati. Circa 93% of patients showed a response to vaccines and l’84% dei pazienti vaccinati è sopravvissuto oltre i tre anni dopo il trattamento.

Brain Cancer Vaccine
The DFKZ laboratory in a phase of the study.

Brain Cancer Vaccine Phase 1: It went well, but how good?

È ancora impossibile dirlo, serve cautela. “Non possiamo trarre ulteriori conclusioni sull’efficacia del vaccino da questo primo studio senza un gruppo di controllo”, dice Platten. “La sicurezza e l’immunogenicità sono così convincenti che abbiamo continuato a perseguire lo sviluppo del vaccino in un ulteriore studio di fase I.”

I will keep you informed on the future developments of this research.