Northwestern Medicine Enrolls First Participant in Midwest for Research Study of Personalized Vaccine for Aggressive Brain

Northwestern Medicine Enrolls First Participant in Midwest for Research Study
             of Personalized Vaccine for Aggressive Brain Tumors

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Aug 14, 2013

Randomized phase II trial will investigate vaccine therapy combined with
Avastin for patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme

CHICAGO, Aug 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Northwestern Medicine^®
recently joined a landmark clinical trial to investigate if a vaccine made
from a patient's own brain tumor is effective in slowing tumor progression and
extending survival. The randomized phase II trial will study how well giving
the study vaccine with or without Avastin (bevacizumab) works in treating
patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). The study is the
largest randomized brain tumor vaccine trial ever funded by the National
Cancer Institute (NCI) and is chaired by Andrew T. Parsa, MD, PhD, who joined
Northwestern Memorial Hospital in July as the new chair of neurological
surgery. The first participant in the Midwest, and only third in the country,
was enrolled in the trial last week at Northwestern Memorial.

The trial will enroll more than 200 participants with recurrent glioblastoma
that can be surgically removed. Following the participant's surgery, the tumor
is sent to an industry collaborator Agenus Inc., where the participant's
specific personalized vaccine, designated as HSPPC-96, is created. The vaccine
is unique to the individual participant and is engineered to trigger an immune
system response to kill tumor cells that may remain following surgery.

"This is truly personalized medicine where the patient's own tumor is being
used to help fight their cancer," said Parsa, who is alsothe Michael J.
Marchese Professor and chair of the department of neurological surgery
atNorthwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a member of the of
Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and
part of the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute."The vaccine provokes a
tumor-specific immune response that is specific to that patient. The T cells,
which are the part of the immune system that fights disease, tracks down the
cancer cells and kills them."

Parsa launched this area of research in 2006 at the University of California,
San Francisco (UCSF). Previous phases of this research have returned promising
results finding that the vaccine extended survival for participants with
glioblastoma when compared to standard therapies. In this next phase,
researchers are seeking to understand if the vaccine is safe and more
effective when given with Avastin, a drug that is known to shrink brain tumors
and is a standard therapy for recurrent glioblastoma. Trial participants will
be randomized to either receive the vaccine alone, concurrently with Avastin
or Avastin only. Jeffrey Raizer, MD, co-director of the Northwestern Brain
Tumor Institute (NBTI), is the principal investigator for the trial at
Northwestern.

"This vaccine therapy has the potential to extend the lives of patients who
often have limited options when their tumor returns," said Raizer, medical
director of neuro-oncology at Northwestern Memorial, associate professor of
neurology at the Feinberg School and a member of the Lurie Cancer Center.
"Previous results indicate that we may be able to extend survival longer by
combining the therapy with other drugs, such as Avastin, that may boost the
immune response of the vaccine."

Each year, 17,000 Americans are diagnosed with glioblastoma, a particularly
aggressive form of brain cancer. This type of tumor is often resistant to
standard therapies and median survival is approximately 15 months from the
point of first diagnosis.

"This research does not present a cure for brain tumors, but instead a
potential way to convert the cancer into a chronic disease – something
comparable to diabetes that you may be able to live with and control with
medication," said Parsa.

A successful trial could lead to the vaccine potentially being approved to
treat recurrent brain tumors, making it one of only a few approved therapeutic
cancer vaccines.

"Vaccine therapy is rapidly emerging as a potential treatment for many types
of cancers and we're proud that Northwestern is part of this exciting
research," said Steven T. Rosen, MD, director of the Lurie Cancer Center,
director of cancer programs at Northwestern Memorial, and Genevieve E. Teuton
Professor of Medicine at the Feinberg School. "This field of research has the
potential to offer safer and less toxic cancer therapies that can be
personalized to each individual patient."

The study is sponsored by the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology
(ALLIANCE), a cooperative group of the NCI, and the vaccine is being developed
by Agenus Inc. Parsa has not received any financial support or travel expense
from the company.

To learn more about the clinical trial, call 312-695-2047 or email
kskirnyk@nmff.org. Enrollment criteria can be viewed on the Lurie Cancer
Center website.

Northwestern's neurology and neurological surgery program is ranked as 7^thin
the country on the U.S. News & World Report 2013-14 Best Hospitals specialty
rankings and 1^st in Chicago. This is the seventh consecutive year that
Northwestern is the highest ranked neurological program in Illinois and
Chicago. The departments of neurology and neurological surgery provide
treatment for a full range of neurological disorders and offer patients the
latest and most sophisticated treatment and surgical options. Our neurologists
and neurosurgeons are actively engaged in clinical research to advance new
therapies and uncover the causes and cures of neurological diseases.

For more information about neurological care at Northwestern Memorial, visit
ourwebsite or connect with us on social media.

About Northwestern Memorial HealthCare

Northwestern Memorial HealthCare is the parent corporation of Chicago's
Northwestern Memorial Hospital, an 894-bed academic medical center hospital
and Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, a 201-bed community hospital located in
Lake Forest, Illinois.

About Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Northwestern Memorial is one of the country's premier academic medical center
hospitals and is the primary teaching hospital of the Northwestern University
Feinberg School of Medicine. Along with its Prentice Women's Hospital and
Stone Institute of Psychiatry, the hospital has 1,705 affiliated physicians
and 6,769 employees. Northwestern Memorial is recognized for providing
exemplary patient care and state-of-the art advancements in the areas of
cardiovascular care; women's health; oncology; neurology and neurosurgery;
solid organ and soft tissue transplants and orthopaedics.

Northwestern Memorial has nursing Magnet Status, the nation's highest
recognition for patient care and nursing excellence.Northwestern Memorial
ranks 6^th in the nation in the U.S. News & World Report 2013-14 Honor Roll of
America's Best Hospitals. The hospital is recognized in 14 of 16 clinical
specialties rated by U.S. News and is No. 1 in Illinois and Chicago in U.S.
News' 2013-14 state and metro rankings, respectively. For 13 years running,
Northwestern Memorial has been rated among the "100 Best Companies for Working
Mothers" guide by Working Mother magazine. The hospital is a recipient of the
prestigious National Quality Health Care Award and has been chosen by
Chicagoans as the Consumer Choice according to the National Research
Corporation's annual survey for 13 years.

SOURCE Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Website: http://www.nmh.org
 
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