Therapeutic vaccines for malignant brain tumors
Michael P Gustafson1, Keith L Knutson2, Allan B Dietz1
1Division of Transfusion Medicine; 2Department of Immunology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA
Abstract: Malignant gliomas are the most common and aggressive form of brain tumors. Current therapy consists of surgical resection, followed by radiation therapy and concomitant chemotherapy. Despite these treatments, the prognosis for patients is poor. As such, investigative therapies including tumor vaccines have targeted this devastating condition. Recent clinical trials involving immunotherapy, specifically dendritic cell (DC) based vaccines, have shown promising results. Overall, these vaccines are well tolerated with few documented side effects. In many patients receiving vaccines, tumor progression was delayed and the median overall survival of these patients was prolonged. Despite these encouraging results, several factors have limited the efficacy of DC vaccines. Here we discuss the potential of DC vaccines as adjuvant therapy and current obstacles of generating highly pure and potent DC vaccines in the context of malignant glioma. Taken together, the results from earlier clinical studies justify additional clinical trials aimed at improving the efficacy of DC vaccines.
Keywords: malignant glioma, glioblastoma multiforme, vaccine, immunotherapy, dendritic cells
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