SurVaxM: A Beacon of Hope in the Battle Against Deadly Brain Cancer, Glioblastoma
Harnessing the Power of the Immune System against Glioblastoma
A ground-breaking experimental vaccine, SurVaxM, is ushering in new hope in the fight against glioblastoma, a relentless and deadly form of brain cancer.
The vaccine aims at delaying the tumor’s recurrence by targeting a protein found in these tumors called survivin, believed to foster cancer cell survival. If survivin is obliterated, the presumption is that the cancer cells will also be eradicated.
Glioblastoma represented nearly half of all malignant brain tumors diagnosed in the U.S. last year, with more than 14,000 cases reported, according to spokesperson, Tom Halkin. With a heartrending five-year survival rate of just 6.8%, this disease leaves patients and their families in devastation.
SurVaxM: Turning the Tide in Glioblastoma Treatment
John Wishman: A Story of Resilience and Hope
John Wishman, a 61-year-old resident of Buffalo, New York, was diagnosed with glioblastoma in the fall of 2020. Defying the odds of a disease with an average survival time of 12 to 18 months, Wishman is still living an active life two and a half years later, thanks to SurVaxM. Wishman’s story brings hope to many other patients and families grappling with this ferocious disease.
From Clinical Trials to Reality: The Journey of SurVaxM
An early-stage clinical trial reported that SurVaxM extended the average survival time for glioblastoma patients to 26 months. Now, the manufacturer, MimiVax, based in New York, is in the process of enrolling patients for a larger trial to corroborate these initial findings.
The planned trial, anticipated to involve more than 10 sites across the U.S. and China, will engage up to 270 patients. This comprehensive study will compare the outcomes of patients receiving the SurVaxM vaccine to those receiving standard care.
The Challenge of Glioblastoma: A ‘Tentacled’ Adversary
Glioblastoma is a notably aggressive cancer. By the time of diagnosis, it typically has already spread to other parts of the brain and spinal cord. Owing to its invasive nature, the complete surgical removal of the tumor is usually unachievable.
This form of brain cancer can be likened to the tentacles of an octopus, stretching into different parts of the brain, explains Honggang Cui, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering.
Although treatments involving surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are standard, recurrence is common if even a single cancer cell remains.
The Mechanism of SurVaxM: An Immune System ‘Training’
SurVaxM’s approach is quite innovative; it “trains” the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. If the cells do make a comeback, the body is prepared to eliminate them, thus preventing a new tumor from forming, according to Michael Ciesielski, the CEO of MimiVax.
Navigating the Future of Glioblastoma Treatment with SurVaxM
Despite the promise of SurVaxM, results from the Phase 2b trial are not expected until mid-2024. If the trial proves successful, a larger Phase 3 clinical trial will be required. However, the high mortality rates associated with gi