Targeting glioblastoma (brain cancer), the developers of SurVaxM recently presented at ASCO in Chicago. They reported that combination therapy with the vaccine was more effective than standard therapy for nearly all patients.
63 patients (median age 60) with newly diagnosed glioblastoma (nGBM), who were recruited into this five-center, single-arm phase II clinical trial, were followed for safety, six-month progression-free survival, 12-month overall survival and immunologic response. All patients underwent standard treatment, involving craniotomy, radiation and treatment with temozolomide both before and after surgery. Immune response was assessed by detection of a surviving-specific antibody and CD9+T-cell levels.
It was reported that, compared to a historical analysis of patients receiving standard therapy alone, combination therapy with SurVaxM generated encouraging efficacy and immunogenicity in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma, with minimal toxicity or side effects. The vast majority of patients—96.8%—did not experience disease progression within six months of treatment, and 93.5% were alive a year after diagnosis, compared to 65% survival based on historical comparisons.
Principal Investigator Dr. Robert Fenstermaker commented for the press release, “We saw significant increase in both progression- free and overall survival, which is noteworthy in patients with such a notoriously aggressive and treatment-resistant disease.”
The Investigational Drug
SurVaxM, developed at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, is a first-of-its-kind, patented peptide mimic immunotherapeutic vaccine (immunotherapy) that targets survivin, a cell-survival protein present in 95% of glioblastomas and many other cancers. It is engineered to recognize survivin-expressing cancer cells as foreign and stimulate patient’s own immune response to control tumor growth and recurrence.
While vaccines are often thought of as a means to prevent a disease, vaccines may also be used at times in a therapeutic mode (e.g. to treat cancer). It is delivered through simple subcutaneous injection.
The Research Center
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center was founded in 1890 and perhaps is the very first institution involved with clinical research as a care option. A cancer research and treatment center, it is organized as a New York State public-benefit corporation located in Buffalo, New York. It was founded by Roswell Park, a notable American physician best known for starting Gratwick Research Laboratory (now Roswell Park). Gratwick was named after a patient of Dr. Park. Gratwick’s family provided the initial laboratory seed financing of $25,000 as a gift in memory of the patient who passed away.
Roswell Park was the first dedicated medical facility for cancer treatment and research in the United States. With 28 acres and 15 separate buildings covering 2 million square feet including the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC). With $86 million in research and many dozens of patents, the venerable American research institution employs over 3,400.
SurVaxM Spinoff Company
Dr. Fenstermaker and Dr. Michael J. Ciesielski developed the intellectual property at Roswell Park. As part of a spinoff program, a spinoff company was formed. MimiVax LLC launched to develop immunotherapeutic vaccines and targeted therapies for cancer treatment. Founded in 2011, it is based in Buffalo, New York.
- Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
- Dana-Farber Harvard Cancer Center
- Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
- Cleveland Clinic Taussig Institute, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
Dr. Robert Festernmaker, Roswell Park