A new drug will have its first clinical trial in the UK, boosting hopes of better treatments for people suffering brain tumour.
The vaccine, known as IMA950, is expected to lower the risk of glioblastoma – a deadly brain cancer – by preparing the body’s immune system to fight against it.
The Phase I trial, to be conducted at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow and four other hospitals, will include 45 newly diagnosed patients.
The drug includes 11 peptides, which are present on the surfaces of tumours but not healthy cells.
The strings of protein material enable T-cells – immune system defenders – to identify, target and destroy the unhealthy cells that make up brain tumours.
The vaccine provides the immune system multiple targets, which boost the chances of success. Other brain tumour drugs available fail to work in the same way.
The trial is being funded by the charity Cancer Research UK under a scheme set up to test drugs that would not otherwise be developed by pharmaceutical companies.
Its cost is not being disclosed for commercial reasons, but a Phase I trial of this type typically costs around £2 million.
Taking the vaccine forward will depend on a deal struck between Cancer Research UK and a German company specialising in cancer vaccines.
Immatics Biotechnologies has an option to further develop and commercialise IMA950 in exchange for future payments to the charity.
Copyright Press Association 2010