Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2) and Miles For Hope have jointly awarded a $100,000 grant to Drs. Linda Liau and Robert Prins at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for their project: Optimizing Dendritic Cell Vaccination for Low-Grade Glioma Patients. The grant enables the UCLA researchers to expand the vaccine trial to include patients that have been diagnosed with low-grade gliomas, a common form of brain cancer.
This grant is the result of a strategic collaboration, combining ABC2's dedication to advancing therapies leading to a cure for brain cancer and Miles for Hope’s commitment to raising awareness, funding vaccine research and enhancing the quality of life for brain tumor patients. "We believe collaboration is a critical component to advancing a cure. Jointly funding this project with Miles for Hope enables the clinical trial to move forward," said Max Wallace, CEO of ABC2.
"Over the past two decades, conventional treatments have only been able to extend the median survival of brain cancer patients by approximately two weeks," said Bob Gibbs, co-founder of Miles for Hope and brain cancer survivor who has been treated with a similar vaccine at UCLA. "For that reason, we felt compelled to raise awareness and funding for the brain cancer vaccines so that other had access to the same treatment that has saved my life."
About the Research
Few treatment options exist for patients diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM),the most aggressive form of brain cancer. The two FDA approved treatments for GBM, Temodar and Avastin, prolong survival in GBM patients by only months. Thus, GBM remains a largely unmet medical need and highlights the need for novel and effective treatments. Immunotherapy is an innovative approach that uses techniques such as adoptive transfer of T cells or active vaccination to activate the patient's own immune system against antigens expressed by their brain tumor cells.
Pre-clinical studies have shown that effective anti-tumor immunity can be generated to tumors in the brain. Dr. Liau's early phase study, launched in 2003, found that the personalized immunotherapy vaccine may double survival time for high-grade glioma (GBM) patients. The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Cancer Research, also identified a subset of patients more likely to respond to the vaccine — those with a subtype of glioblastoma known as mesenchymal, which accounts for about one-third of all cases.
The aim of the new Phase 1 clinical trial is to test the safety and toxicity of the dendritic cell vaccine in low-grade glioma patients. It will also compare and contrast the anti-tumor immune response induced by the vaccine in low-grade vs. high-grade glioma patients. The researchers hypothesize that patients with low-grade gliomas may have a better anti-tumor immune response than patients with high-grade gliomas because they are being treated at an earlier stage in the disease.