Blog | HemaCare

Brain Cancer Vaccine Could Improve Prognosis

Jul 30, 2018 10:18:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD

Young female doctor examining man in 40s with CT scanner_AdobeStock_65696546-193792-editedImmunotherapy for glioblastoma has been considered an option for patients and extend life of patients.

Glioblastoma multiforme is an aggressive cancer of the brain or spinal cord that originates from astrocytes. Although this type of cancer is not age specific, it is diagnosed more often in older patients. Glioblastoma is very difficult to treat, and current options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, use of electrical fields (tumor treating fields), and targeted therapies to prevent tumor blood vessel formation. On average, people live for about 15 months after diagnosis despite receiving the standard treatments for glioblastoma.

Immunotherapy for glioblastoma has been considered a viable option because of the capacity of immune cells to specifically target tumor cells within tissues. The primary immune cells identified for this approach are dendritic cells, powerful antigen-presenting cells that can prime naïve T cells to generate cytotoxic T cells. Researchers developed and studied the use of a dendritic cell-based vaccine as a treatment for glioblastoma. The vaccine (DCVax) consists of dendritic cells incubated with tumor lysates or synthetic peptides to elicit anti−glioblastoma tumor immunity.

To achieve the vaccine treatment, blood is obtained from the patients, and dendritic cells are extracted. The tumor cells from patients were used to make the lysates for incubation with dendritic cells, and the resultant DCVax was given to the patients of the treatment group. The injections were given by intra-dermal injection in the arm 6 times in the first year and then only twice per year after that. 

The median overall survival rate for those treated with DCVax was 23 months. Two-year survival rates were seen in over 45% of the patients and 3-year survival rates were observed in over 25% of the patients. The DCVax vaccine was found to be well tolerated with a low percentage of adverse events. Although the study is still ongoing, results thus far suggest that the dendritic cell vaccine may be a promising treatment for patients with glioblastoma. The significant increase in life expectancy seen with the studied dendritic cell vaccine can provide the basis for further studies of its safe use in combination therapies for this brain cancer.

At HemaCare, we provide dendritic cells and a variety of human cells and tissues to support your cancer research.



Ghanmi, S. (2018). Brain Cancer Vaccine Could Give Patients Extra Years Of Life. Tech Times. Retrieved 12 June 2018, from

Topics: Cancer, Dendritic Cells, Tumors, Vaccine Research, Immunotherapy (Immunology)

      Subscribe Here!

      Posts by Topic

      see all

      Recent Posts