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

Categories: Press Room

Sunday, March 01, 2009

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

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 tumors. 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 the Hoag Neurosciences Institute and Robert O. Dillman, MD, FACP, medical oncologist and cancer immunologist, as well as executive medical and scientific director at the Hoag Cancer Center. 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 Cancer Center

Hoag Cancer Center 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. As the highest volume provider of cancer care in Orange County, Hoag Cancer Center manages approximately 2,500 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 Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian

Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian ( ) is a 498-bed, non-profit, acute care hospital located in Newport Beach, Calif. Fully accredited by the Joint Commission and designated as a Magnet hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), Hoag offers a comprehensive mix of health care services, including Centers of Excellence in cancer, heart and vascular, neurosciences, orthopedics and women’s health. National Research Corporation has endorsed Hoag as Orange County’s most preferred hospital for the past 14 consecutive years. And for an unprecedented 14 years, residents of Orange County have chosen Hoag as the county’s best hospital in a local newspaper survey. In order to meet the growing needs of Irvine and South County residents, Hoag will open an Irvine campus in 2010. Hoag continues to offer additional services to the community through the seven Hoag Health Centers located throughout Orange County.