Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive form of primary brain cancer in adults. With standard therapy — surgery followed by chemoradiation and then adjuvant chemotherapy — the median overall survival is 15 months, with only 3-5% of patients living 5 years or more.
Collaborators from organizations including Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Cleveland Clinic and MimiVax LLC share data from their phase II study of SurVaxM as part of a combination treatment for patients with glioblastoma at the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago.
These results show that the therapy appears to be safe, effective and worthy of further evaluation.
SurVaxM, which was invented at Roswell Park, targets a cell-survival protein called survivin that is present in 95% of patients with glioblastomas, and also in patients with many other cancers.
Awarded orphan drug designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017, the vaccine has dual mechanisms of action to stimulate a patient’s T-cell immunity and also employs antibody-directed inhibition of the survivin pathway to control tumour growth and prevent or delay tumour recurrence.
“Glioblastoma is one of the most common and aggressive forms of brain cancer, with few effective treatment options. That dire need underscores the importance of these promising interim results, as we seek to develop new and better therapies,” notes co-inventor Michael Ciesielski, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at Roswell Park and Chief Executive Officer for MimiVax. “And because survivin is present in a huge percentage of cancers in general, we expect that SurVaxM could have broad applicability in many cancers beyond glioblastoma.”
The single-arm study is being conducted at five sites: Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Cleveland Clinic, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
The team’s work has been supported by donations to Roswell Park and through private investment.
A randomized trial of SurVaxM in glioblastoma is planned, pending completion of this study.
Research on SurVaxM has led to the development of additional platform agents, including a therapeutic anti-survivin monoclonal antibody and survivin-targeted CAR T cells, both of which are under development by scientists and clinicians at MimiVax and Roswell Park.