Date: 05 February 2018
Researchers supported by the NIHR have begun a trial of a new drug treatment for people with aggressive brain tumours, the first time the drug has been tested in the NHS.
The trial will recruit patients with glioblastoma multiforme, the most common type of primary, malignant brain tumour. Glioblastoma affects around 2,200 people each year, and most patients survive for less than a year after diagnosis, with fewer than 10% of patients alive after five years.
The phase II trial is investigating ipilimumab, a targeted immunotherapy cancer drug called a monoclonal antibody that makes the immune system more active. One hundred and twenty patients will be recruited across seven centres in the UK.
The issue of brain cancer care has had a boost in public awareness recently following Baroness Tessa Jowell’s speech recently in the House of Lords about her own experience with the disease and her calls for improvements.
Lead investigator Dr Paul Mulholland, a consultant medical oncologist supported by the NIHR, told the Evening Standard: “This is the most important trial for brain cancer patients in the last 15 years.” “In earlier phases of the trial we have seen, in some patients, some dramatic and exciting responses,” he said. “We now need undertake a clinical trial to see if these responses lead to improved life expectancy. If this treatment works, this will be a vital step in changing the treatment for this patient group for the better.”
The clinical trial is funded by The National Brain Appeal charity and Bristol-Myers Squibb, and sponsored and managed by the University of Oxford. It is supported by the NIHR University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre.
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