Cancer is among the most researched diseases when it comes to medical science. New experimental treatments are found every year but most of them still require chemotherapy after the fact. Recently, in a new article, published in the journal Nature, a brain cancer vaccine has passed the first stage of human trials.
A vaccine could just be the least invasive treatment for cancer. According to the study, this novel vaccine is designed to help a patient’s immune system target brain tumor cells more accurately. This means that your immune system could just help cure cancer. The data given suggests that this experimental vaccine is safe and the immune response it triggers can significantly slow down tumor progression.
Michael Platten, from the German Cancer Research Center, says that “Our idea was to support patients’ immune systems and to use a vaccine as a targeted way of alerting it to the tumor-specific neo-epitope”. He has been working for years to create this vaccine. The vaccine is designed to target an enzyme called isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1).
So, a little context to better understand some fancy terms. A type of brain cancer called Diffuse glioma can spread across the brain making surgery extremely difficult if the tumor has to be removed. However, research showed that over 70% of low-grade gliomas share a gene mutation that affects the IDH1 enzyme.
Results showed that around 93% of patients displayed an effective response to the vaccine. Platten did not overstate the results from this phase 1 trial, he said without larger trials and a control group, further conclusions can’t be made.
A larger phase 2 is currently being planned. You can view the research published in the journal here.