May 2012 final report

CIKA is committed to providing funding for research into solid tumors


May 2012 final report - Cancer in Kids @ RCH - CIKA

May 2012 final report


Dendritic Cell Anti-Tumour Vaccine Clinical Trials


Murdoch Childrens Research Institute is grateful to CIKA for providing funding to support the dendritic cell anti-tumour vaccine clinical trials. This project involved testing a new therapeutic option for cancer by trialling tailor made vaccine produced from the patient’s own tumour and immune cells (dendritic cells) to aid the immune system to recognize and destroy their own tumours.

Since conventional treatments have shown minimal clinical responses for patients with stage 4 disease, a phase 1 clinical trial using dendritic cell (DC) immunotherapy was conducted. Past studies have shown that the DC immunotherapy can potentially be an effective form of treatment against cancer. Patients with advanced stage cancer who had failed standard therapies, including chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, were screened to participate in this trial. The primary objective was to investigate the safety and efficacy of the cancer vaccine.

The secondary objective was to investigate anti-tumour responses by measuring both the clinical level of response using traditional measures and the immunological level of response by measuring cell mediated and humoural responses.

Over the three year period we were able to recruit eighteen patients, ten of whom could be successfully given a vaccine. Unfortunately, other patients had disease progression before we had an opportunity to give the vaccines, or there were other issues that prevented administration.


Progress to date
• no patients had vaccine related toxicity issues;

• four out of ten patients treated had a complete response during the trial period;

• no vaccines have failed quality testing, with no contamination for the vaccines produced by staff.

• primary aims of the trial to prove safety and feasibility were achieved.


Technically, the project showed many positives, including the production of a sufficient amount of vaccine, lacking any contamination, from a small quantity of starting tumour tissue. This indicated that vaccine was produced very effectively with a good standard of quality.

The study achieved the primary aim of demonstrating safety and feasibility with none of the patients having any toxicity related issues. Dendritic cell anti-tumour vaccine therapy for neuroblastoma, brain tumour and recurring solid tumour paediatric patients has, overall, produced positive responses, with no major toxicity. Whilst these accomplishments are noteworthy, the real impact of this work is that it has informed ongoing similar studies internationally.

Murdoch Children's Research Institute would like to thank CIKA for being the main driver behind raising the vital funds to support this work. We would also like to thank Children’s Cancer Centre for their support to conduct this study.



Early in 2013 CIKA commenced funding a new project at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute. To learn more about this project, please click here.