Orange, Calif., Oct. 10, 2012 -- UC Irvine doctors are enrolling patients with the deadly brain tumor glioblastoma multiforme in a clinical trial of a vaccine that may prevent the cancer's return or spread after surgery.
"Our goal is to train the immune system to recognize and attack the cancer," said Dr. Daniela Bota, neuro-oncologist and co-director of UC Irvine's Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program. She will lead the Phase II trial at UC Irvine of DCVax, which was associated with increased survival in a previous study.
The vaccine is prepared in a lab and combines protein antigens extracted from the patient's tumor with some of his or her white blood cells. These grow into dendritic cells that, when injected back into the patient, target the protein antigens and prompt the immune system's T cells to identify and attack remaining cancer cells.
"Cancer cells are like crabgrass: Once they take root, they're hard to eradicate, even after brain surgery," Bota said. The current treatment for patients with glioblastoma multiforme involves surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, followed by radiation and chemotherapy.
"The standard of care prolongs survival, but it does not fully destroy the cancer," Bota said. She believes the vaccine can help eliminate remaining tumor cells and further extend patients' lives. Only 10 percent of the 12,000 to 14,000 people annually found to have glioblastoma multiforme survive five years.
Patients 18 to 70 newly diagnosed with this brain tumor (also called grade IV astrocytoma) may be eligible to enroll in the trial. For more information, call UC Irvine toll-free at 877-UCSTUDY (877-827-8839) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please refer to protocol UCI-08-16.
Additional information also is available at http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT00045968.
Clinical trials are conducted at UC Irvine's Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the country and the only one in Orange County.
About UC Irvine Medical Center: Orange County's only university hospital, UC Irvine Medical Center offers acute- and general-care services at its new, 482,000-square-foot UC Irvine Douglas Hospital and is home to the county's only Level I trauma center, American College of Surgeons-verified regional burn center and National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. U.S. News & World Report has included UC Irvine for 11 consecutive years on its list of America's Best Hospitals, giving special recognition to its urology, gynecology, kidney disorders and cancer programs.
About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with nearly 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,000 staff. Orange County's second-largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.
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