New Vaccine For Aggressive Brain Cancer Shows Promising Results

Jun 6, 2018

A new treatment for a rare but aggressive brain cancer like the kind John McCain is fighting is showing positive results.

The average survival rate for glioblastoma is 15 to 17 months. A study involving the University of Cincinnati finds adding a personalized vaccine to standard treatments may extend life expectancy to more than 23 months, and in some cases, three to seven years.

Chaudhary reviews brain scans in this still image from a University of Cincinnati video.
Credit Provided / University of Cincinnati

Researchers used patients' immune cells and tumor tissues to create the personalized vaccines.

"After they create this personalized vaccine, they inject it back into the patient and hope that those immune cells will present that brain tumor tissue to the immune system to teach the immune system how to react to it," says Rekha Chaudhary, MD, with the University of Cincinnati's division of hematology and oncology and a co-author of the study.

She thinks this could be standard practice soon.

"I think it's very close to being a treatment and I think that's why they published it (early). We don't have a lot for glioblastoma in terms of standard of care. Breast cancer and leukemia have made leaps and bounds in the last 30 years in terms of improving their survival and cure rates. Glioblastoma has dismal improvement in their survival rates."

The study is published in the May 29 edition of the Journal of Translational Medicine.