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ImmunoCellular reports phase 1 trial results for brain cancer drug

ImmunoCellular Therapeutics Ltd. reported results from the phase 1 trial of its brain cancer drug candidate ICT-121 at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting.

The trial enrolled 20 patients suffering from glioblastoma, a cancer that forms from star-shaped cells in the brain called astrocytes. It is defined by high incidence of tumor recurrence, thought to be triggered by tumor cells resistant to irradiation and chemotherapy.

ICT-121 is a dendritic cell-based immunotherapy that targets the cancer stem cell marker CD133 which is overexpressed in solid tumors, including glioblastoma, non-small cell lung, colon, ovarian, pancreatic and breast cancers.

The trial had safety and tolerability as primary endpoints and overall survival and progression-free survival as secondary endpoints.

The trial results showed that six of 20 patients were still alive as of April with survival ranging from 10 to 24 months. The results also showed that ICT-121 was generally safe and well tolerated. Immune response data from the trial was still unavailable and will provide insight into the effectiveness of the drug in inducing the formation of cytotoxic T cells targeting CD133.

The Los Angeles-based clinical-stage company said that the preliminary findings from the trial were encouraging, especially considering the lack of therapeutic options for patients with this disease, and the drug warranted further investigation.