Researchers from Heidelberg and Mannheim, Germany have successfully treated adult patients with advanced midline gliomas using a peptide vaccine for the first time. Midline gliomas are among the most aggressive types of brain tumors, with a low life expectancy and limited treatment options. The vaccine, which mimicked a mutational change in a histone protein that is characteristic of this type of tumor, was found to be safe and induced a promising immune response.
The mutations in midline gliomas typically occur in a DNA packaging protein called H3K27M, producing a novel protein structure that can be recognized by the patient’s immune system as foreign. The researchers synthetically reconstructed this mutated protein and used it to inhibit the growth of tumors in a mouse model. They then tested a mutation-specific vaccine, based on this synthetic peptide, in a Phase I trial with adult patients who had H3K27M-mutated midline gliomas that had not responded to standard therapy.
No serious side effects were observed in any of the vaccinated patients, and five out of eight developed specific immune responses against the mutant protein. In one patient, the tumor completely regressed, and she remained tumor-free for 31 months. The researchers also found that the vaccine worked effectively in patients with different genetic backgrounds, indicating its potential for personalized treatment.
The results of this study provide valuable information for the future development of brain tumor vaccines. A Phase I trial is currently underway to test the vaccine against the H3K27M mutation in patients with newly diagnosed midline gliomas. This promising research offers hope for improved treatments for this aggressive and difficult-to-treat type of brain tumor.
– Nature Medicine
– Inside Precision Medicine