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GVAX Combo Improves Survival in Pancreatic Cancer

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The immune-stimulating vaccine referred to as GVAX, in addition to an immune booster CRX 207, improves survival among patients with advanced pancreatic cancer that has returned following prior therapy. These results were recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Cancer of the pancreas that has spread to distant sites in the body is currently considered incurable with standard treatment options. Unfortunately, overall average survival time for this type of disease is very limited, so researchers are continuously evaluating novel ways in which to extend survival time for these patients.

GVAX is a vaccine that stimulates the immune system to recognize a patient’s cancer cells. GVAX consists of a type of immune cell referred to as a T-cell that has been stimulated to recognize pancreatic cancer cells as foreign.

CRS-207, which is used in combination with GVAX, consists of mesothelin (a protein common on pancreatic cancer cells) that contains a laboratory manipulated portion of the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. This CRS-207 complex augments the stimulation of the immune system even further to recognize and fight cancer cells.

Researchers recently conducted a clinical trial to further evaluate GVAX in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. The trial included 90 patients who had received prior therapy for their cancer. One group of patients was treated with GVAX followed by CRS-207, and one group of patients was treated with GVAX only.

Overall survival was approximately 6.1 months for patients treated with GVAX/CRS-207, compared with only 3.9 months for those treated with GVAX only.
In a pre-planned group of patients that received at least 3 doses of treatment, overall survival was 9.7 months for those treated with GVAX/CRS-207, compared with 4.6 months for those treated with GVAX only.
The researchers concluded that patients treated with GVAX plus CRS-207 achieved greater survival than those treated with GVAX only. Furthermore, those treated with a greater number of doses of treatment achieved the greatest survival.

Reference: Le D, Wang-Gillam A, Picozzi V, et al. Safety and survival with GVAX pancreas prime and Listeria Monocytogenes-expressing mesothelin (CRS-207) boost vaccines for metastatic pancreatic cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2015; 33(12): 1325-1333.