A new brain cancer vaccine tailored to individual patients by using material from their own tumors has proven effective by extending the patients’ lives by several months or longer, according to results from a multicenter phase II clinical trial.
Investigators compared the effectiveness of the vaccine for more than 40 patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme who were treated at the University of California, San Francisco’s (UCSF) Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, at the Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, and at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.
The trial found that the vaccine could extend survival for the patients by several months when compared with 80 other patients who were treated at the same hospitals and received standard therapy—47 weeks compared with 32 weeks. Several patients who received the cancer vaccine have survived for more than a year.
“These results are provocative,” said UCSF neurosurgeon Andrew Parsa, MD, PhD, who led the research. “They suggest that doctors may be able to extend survival even longer by combining the vaccine with other drugs that enhance this immune response.”
The next step, he said, will be a more extensive, randomized clinical trial to look at the effectiveness of the vaccine combined with the drug bevacizumab, a standard therapy for this type of cancer, compared to the effectiveness of the drug alone. Those trials, to be run by the National Cancer Institute, will begin enrolling patients later this year.
Patients With Tremor or Movement Disorder May Benefit From MR-Guided Focused Ultrasound Surgery
Magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS) may be effective in alleviating tremor and other types of movement disorders, according to researchers.
William J. Elias, MD, Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery and Neurology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, and colleagues conducted a unilateral MRgFUS ventral intermediate nucleus thalamotomy in 15 patients with essential tremor who were refractory to medication. Pre- and post-thalamotomy assessments were obtained with a validated rating scale for tremor and MRI throughout the study period at time points of one day, one week, one month, and three months. Adverse events were recorded during the study period.
Throughout the three-month study period, the subjects’ contralateral appendicular tremor decreased substantially. The procedure’s adverse-event profile was comparable to that of stereotactic thalamic procedures. Adverse events included headache, warm sensations, dizziness, and nausea. Neuromodulation at low-power sonications was performed in a few patients, based on their intraprocedural clinical testing.
The researchers concluded that MRgFUS thalamotomy was safe and effective in alleviating contralateral appendicular tremor. This noninvasive technique, used in concert with neuromodulation acoustic parameters, may prove effective for patients with tremor and other movement disorders.