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Patient-Specific Cancer Immune Cell Therapy for Brain Tumors Promising as Adjunctive Therapy

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Newport Beach, Calif. – Hoag Hospital announced encouraging clinical study results for the instillation of a patient-specific cancer immune cell therapy as an adjunctive treatment for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). The non-randomized, phase 2 study concluded that intralesional therapy with autologous lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells is safe and the survival sufficiently encouraging to warrant further evaluation in a randomized phase 2 trial.

GBM is the most common and deadliest of primary brain tumor?. Currently, surgery is the standard therapy for patients. Administering external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) and chemotherapy after surgery is known to improve survival rates. However, despite therapeutic advances, survival rates for GBM continue to be very low.

The article, entitled: “Intralesional Lymphokine-Activated Killer Cells as Adjuvant Therapy for Primary Glioblastoma,” appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Immunotherapy. Lead investigators in the study were Christopher Duma, MD, FACS, neurosurgeon and medical director of the Hoag Brain Tumor Program at Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute and Robert O. Dillman, MD, FACP, medical oncologist and cancer immunologist, as well as executive medical and scientific director at the Hoag Family Cancer Institute. The study was sponsored by Hoag Hospital Foundation.

“There continues to be a high rate of tumor recurrence in patients with primary glioblastoma despite advances in treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation, and knife radiosurgery. A focus on other local therapies and immunotherapies that might improve the survival rate for patients with primary GBM is the next step for identifying treatments that may offer patients potentially higher survival rates,” said Dr. Dillman.

There were 33 GBM patients enrolled in the clinical trial. Each patient was treated with their own LAK cells, lymphocytes isolated from the peripheral blood and stimulated in the Hoag Cell Biology Laboratory with the immune signaling cytokine interleukin-2 (IL-2). At the time of surgery, the cells were placed into the surgical cavity. All patients had already undergone initial surgery, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy for GBM.

The study resulted in median overall survival from diagnosis of 20.5 months. In recent reports the median survival for patients treated with surgery, radiation therapy, and temozolomide chemotherapy was 15 months.

The subsequent, recently opened randomized phase II trial compares the insertion of LAK cell therapy to the insertion of Gliadel® wafters at the time of a second craniotomy.
About Hoag Family Cancer Institute

Hoag Family Cancer Institute is accredited as a “Comprehensive Community Cancer Program” by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons, and was designated as “Outstanding” following its most recent survey. The Center provides a broad array of innovative cancer treatments as well as patient-centered education and support programs. The Hoag Family Cancer Institute has multidisciplinary treatment programs available for the following cancer types: Bladder,Brain Cancer,Breast Cancer, Colon,Gynecologic Cancer (Cervical, Ovarian, Uterine),Head & Neck Cancer,Hematologic Malignancies, Kidney,Lung Cancer,Melanoma Cancer, Metastic,Prostate Cancer, Rectal, Sarcoma, Testicular and Thyroid. As the highest volume provider of cancer care in Orange County,Hoag Family Cancer Institute manages approximately 3,300 newly diagnosed cancer patients each year, providing the latest state-of-the-art technology and treatment options. The center participates in a variety of clinical trials, develops patient-specific biological treatments in its cell biology laboratory, and provides a wealth of complementary care programs for patients.

About Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute (HNI)
Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute ( coordinates clinical neuroscience specialists, dedicated facilities and the latest technology to provide individualized patient management under the following programs:Memory and Cognitive Disorders,Brain Tumors,Stroke,Epilepsy,Pain,Movement Disorders, and Neurobehavioral Disorders. HNI also houses the Multiple Sclerosis,Voice and Swallowing, and Sleep Centers and is becoming a regional referral center for all brain and spinal disorders.