An Expert Breakdown of SurVaxM, the Novel Brain Cancer Vaccine

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SurVaxM, which is being studied in gliobastoma, targets a certain protein that is found on the brain cancer cells.

A novel cancer vaccine, SurVaxM, is being studied for the treatment of patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma. A trial of the drug is currently fully enrolled, and results can be expected around this time next year, according to Dr. Manmeet S. Ahluwalia.

Ahluwalia is the chief scientific officer and chief of medical oncology and deputy director and Fernandez Family Endowed Chair in Cancer Research at Baptist Health Miami Cancer Institute. He recently sat down with CURE® at the 2024 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting to explain how SurVaxM works.

READ MORE: FDA Grants Fast Track Designation to SurVaxM for Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma

Ahluwalia explained that SurVaxM targets the survivin protein, which is found on gliobastoma cells and is associated with poor outcomes.

“Essentially, if survivin is expressed, patients with glioblastoma have worse outcomes. So, the intent of this vaccine is to not only reverse that negative prognostic factor but on top, build efficacy [in treating the disease],” Ahluwalia said.

Transcript:

SurVaxM is a peptide-based vaccine that targets survivin. Survivin is a peptide which is presented the cancer cells and is not present in the normal cells. We have found survivin expression in almost all of the glioblastoma patients. It is an intracellular (located inside of a cell) protein, but it is expressed on the surface and that's why we are utilizing this peptide-based vaccine to target survivin. Survivin is an anti-apoptotic pathway (meaning a protein that inhibits cancer cell death). Essentially, if survivin is expressed, patients with glioblastoma have worse outcomes. So, the intent of this vaccine is to not only reverse that negative prognostic factor but on top, build efficacy [in treating the disease].

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