Experts at Duke University, America have arrived at a novel combination of drugs and chemotherapy that can be of specific benefit to brain cancer patients. High-dose chemotherapy when combined with vaccines may help improve the rate of survival in patients suffering from an aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma (GBM).
For the study, experts studied 11 brain cancer patients who were on a combination therapy of a vaccine along with a high-dose chemotherapy (temozolomide). The drug therapy targeted cytomegalovirus (CMV) antigen pp65. They took advantage of CMV’s affinity for GBM, with the viral proteins being expressed in roughly 90 per cent of these tumours.
“The clinical outcomes in GBM patients who received this combination were very striking, said Kristen Batich of Duke University.
“The dose-intensified temozolomide induces a strong state of lymphopenia. With that comes an opportune moment to introduce an antigen-specific vaccine, which redirects the immune system to put all hands on deck and fight that target, said Batich. The study was published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.
The vaccine targeting CMV antigen pp65, combined with temozolomide. It was found that this combination was able to improve progression-free survival and the overall survival for a small group of GBM patients.The patients demonstrated a median progression-free survival of 25.3 months and a median overall survival of 41.1 months. Three patients even remained progression-free for more than seven years after diagnosis.