Promising glioblastoma data spur Celldex shares

Shares of Celldex Therapeutics shot up after a team of top researchers achieved prominent attention for some impressive mid-stage clinical trial results for a new therapeutic vaccine designed to fight brain cancer.

The scientists from Duke University and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center said that glioblastoma patients who received a Celldex therapeutic vaccine--CDX-110--lived nearly twice as long as patients who were given standard therapies. And some of the vaccine patients were still alive after five years of treatment, a rare outcome for a disease that has long been known as a quick and efficient killer.

"It does appear to help patients live much longer than we could have expected," Duke's Dr. John Sampson told Reuters. And the survivors, he added, were "pretty unusual" given the lethal cancer they are fighting. The vaccine targets the EGFRvIII variant, which are responsible for the "worst of the worst" tumors.

"Our study showed that the vaccine eliminated all of the cancer cells carrying this marker in all but one of our study participants," said Darell D. Bigner, director of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center and the senior author of the study.

Investigators have been particularly excited by the fact that the vaccine only targets specific proteins found on the surface of cancer cells, a targeted approach that could also help patients avoid the harsh side effects from standard of care. Only 18 of the 35 patients enrolled in the mid-stage trial were given the vaccine, but that's not an uncommon number for a cancer therapy at this stage of clinical development.

- see the Duke release
- and here's the story from Reuters