Last week, news broke that a promising clinical trial of a new type of treatment for a subset of glioblastoma (GBM) patients – an immunotherapeutic vaccine made by Celldex Therapeutics called RINTEGA (rindopepimut) – was discontinued because patients receiving the investigational therapy were not doing better than patients in the control arm.
As we said in our statement regarding this news, these results were a bit shocking and certainly disappointing. There had been high-hopes in the field for RINTEGA and it is frustrating for the whole community that a new treatment for newly diagnosed GBM patients did not come to pass.
However, there is still a lot to be encouraged by in brain tumor drug discovery and development.
At last count, 58 new potential medicines were in clinical development for brain tumor patients (PhRMA 2015 Report). This is up from 47 just the year prior (PhRMA 2014 Report)*.
Most of these treatments are either targeted therapies, in the field of “precision medicine,” or immunotherapies in one of the various categories of immuno-oncology, which remains very promising despite last week’s news.
And, while clinical trials remain a high-stake endeavor for sponsors and participants, and the historical rate of success in brain tumor clinical trials has been troubling, there is more hope and momentum for getting new and better treatment to patients now than ever before.