A vaccine that could delay the return of glioblastoma
By Berkeley Lovelace Jr., NBC News• •
John Wishman’s story is rare. Diagnosed with the deadliest form of brain cancer, glioblastoma, in the fall of 2020, two and a half years later, he is still traveling and enjoying life. The average survival time for patients is just 12 to 18 months.
Wishman, 61, of Buffalo, New York, credits his extended life span to an experimental vaccine called SurVaxM. The vaccine targets a protein found in tumors called survivin, which plays a crucial role in the survival of cancer cells. SurVaxM doesn’t allow the protein to implode, and therefore, the tumor cells die.
The Fight Against Glioblastoma
Glioblastoma is one of the deadliest forms of cancer with around 14,000 patients diagnosed in the US each year, according to the National Brain Tumor Society. It is the most prevalent malignant brain tumor and has a meager five-year survival rate of only 6.8%. Patients and their families often experience a devastating impact.
Fighting glioblastoma is a daunting task for healthcare professionals. Doctors generally recommend surgery, followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy. However, even these treatments seldom guarantee complete healing. The SurVaxM vaccine brings hope to the industry, but researchers need to conduct detailed clinical trials to confirm its effectiveness.
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The Future of Cancer Treatment
A unique feature of the vaccine is that it works as an immune-boosting strategy. The vaccine stimulates the immune system to attack cancer cells effectively. The potential of this vaccine’s development is enormous. If successful, researchers could apply the SurVaxM therapy to other types of tumors discovered to have the survivin protein. However, more detailed genetic testing is necessary to determine if a specific tumor will respond to SurVaxM therapy.
A future with a vaccine that delays the return of glioblastoma is not a far-fetched idea. With technological advancements in the medical field, researchers like Dr. Robert Fenstermaker of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center point towards a possible breakthrough in cancer research and more outstanding results in the future.