Researchers Study Vaccine Created from Patient Blood Cells as Potential Weapon Against Aggressive Brain Tumors

Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute participates in national glioblastoma clinical trial

CHICAGO, July 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Researchers at Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute (NBTI) are seeking to understand if a vaccine made from a patient's own blood cells may slow the growth of a type of brain tumor. The trial is studying the vaccine's effect on glioblastoma multiformes (GBM), the most common and aggressive type of primary brain tumor. The trial is an example of a growing trend in cancer research that seeks to understand if vaccines can be used to turn a person's own immune system into a weapon against cancers by slowing the growth of tumors.

GBMs, which occur in up to 10,000 Americans annually, are typically treated with surgical resection of the tumor followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatment. "Glioblastomas are complicated to treat because they are aggressive, fast-growing tumors that are often resistant to standard treatment," said principal investigator James Chandler, M.D., co-director of the NBTI and surgical director of neuro-oncology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "In this trial, a vaccine is made using the person's own white blood cells, which we hope will have the power to stimulate an immune response to kill brain tumor cells."

The vaccine, called ICT-107, is created by collecting the participant's white blood cells through a process called apheresis, which separates the components in the blood. The white blood cells are then treated to recognize the tumor cells turning them into immune cells, which early research indicates may be able to recognize and attack the tumor cells. Patients receive the vaccine in addition to standard treatment.

"Vaccines hold great promise as potential treatments for all types of cancer," said Chandler, who is also a professor of neurological surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "More researchers are looking at this as a way to prompt an immune response to slow tumor growth and fight the cancer."

The phase II trial will examine both safety and efficacy of the ICT-107 vaccine. Researchers seek to enroll approximately 225 participants nationally who are newly diagnosed with a GBM. To be considered for enrollment, a person must be 18 years or older and not have a recurrent disease or any other active malignancy or history of malignancy. They must have undergone surgery to excise the GBM, but have not yet started chemotherapy or radiation. Full inclusion and exclusion criteria can be found on ClinicalTrials.gov.

"GBMs are a devastating diagnosis and these patients unfortunately are not given a great deal of time," said Chandler.  "Our goal at Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute is to provide patients with the best options to treat their cancer in a manner that not only gives them longer lives, but also improved quality of life."

To learn more about the ICT-107 trial, email mdeemer@nmff.org. For a full list of clinical trials at NBTI, visit the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University website. For general information about NBTI, call 1-855-695-NBTI (6284).

About Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute
Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute (NBTI) is a comprehensive program which merges clinical research with medical and surgical treatment for brain and spinal tumor patients. The Institute offers state-of-the-art clinical care while also providing the resources and support necessary for patients and their families to meet the challenges of living with a brain tumor. It is a collaboration between Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the Robert. H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. 

About Northwestern Memorial HealthCare
Northwestern Memorial HealthCare is the parent corporation of Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital, an 894-bed academic medical center hospital and Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, a 205-bed community hospital located in Lake Forest, Illinois. 

About Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Northwestern Memorial is one of the country's premier academic medical center hospitals and is the primary teaching hospital of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.  Along with its Prentice Women's Hospital and Stone Institute of Psychiatry, the hospital comprises 894 beds, 1,705 affiliated physicians and 6,769 employees.  Northwestern Memorial is recognized for providing exemplary patient care and state-of-the art advancements in the areas of cardiovascular care; women's health; oncology; neurology and neurosurgery; solid organ and soft tissue transplants and orthopaedics.

Northwestern Memorial possesses nursing Magnet Status, the nation's highest recognition for patient care and nursing excellence.  It is also listed in 13 clinical specialties in U.S. News & World Report's 2011 "America's Best Hospitals" guide and ranks No. 1 in Chicago in the 2011 U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals metro area rankings. For 12 years running, Northwestern Memorial has been rated among the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" guide by Working Mother magazine. The hospital is a recipient of the prestigious National Quality Health Care Award and has been chosen by Chicagoans as the Consumer Choice according to the National Research Corporation's annual survey for 13 years. 

SOURCE Northwestern Memorial Hospital



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