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Standard therapy for glioblastoma includes surgical removal of the tumor in combination with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Supplementing the standard protocol with the dendritic cells vaccine is the most promising approach, the effectiveness of which exceeds all therapies that are currently used in neurooncology. According to the results of clinical studies, 30% of patients who received immunotherapy lived 2 years longer than the average expected period, and in a small part of patients, life span increased by 7 years. You can undergo dendritic cell glioblastoma treatment in Germany. You will find a full list of specialized clinics, prices for medical services, and approximate dates of admission on the Booking Health website.
- Who is eligible for the treatment of glioblastoma with dendritic cells
- How a dendritic cell vaccine is made
- Results of DC therapy for glioblastoma
- Undergoing vaccination with dendritic cells for glioblastoma abroad
Who is eligible for the treatment of glioblastoma with dendritic cells
The use of dendritic cells in treatment of glioblastoma is a part of a comprehensive therapeutic regimen, but not an independent technique. In most cases it is carried out:
- After the surgical tumor removal, sometimes also after the completion of the postoperative chemotherapy. This is the best treatment option: during surgery, the doctor removes malignant tissue from the brain as much as possible, and vaccination stimulates anti-cancer immunity and prevents recurrence in the future. Another advantage of this option is the ability to use the removed tumor tissue for manufacturing an individual cancer vaccine.
- In case of the glioblastoma recurrence after successful completion of the initial treatment. In this clinical situation, doctors may repeat the surgical treatment or go straight to systemic therapies, such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy with dendritic cells. In the second case, standard glioblastoma antigens are used to make the vaccine (these are proteins that are present in the tumors of all patients).
The course of immunization for glioblastoma involves the introduction of the vaccine on days 0, 10, and 20 after surgery. After the initial course, the drug is administered again after 2, 4, and 8 months. After that, if necessary, revaccination is carried out every 6 months. The procedure does not require admission to the hospital, it is performed on an outpatient basis or in a day hospital. During the entire course of treatment, the patient remains under the supervision of a general practitioner, neurologist, and oncologist. In addition to clinical examinations, imaging diagnostics may be required – in this case, computed tomography (CT) is performed.
Experience in administering glioblastoma vaccine in children is currently limited. Doctors are conducting additional clinical studies to more accurately assess the safety and success rates of this type of treatment in pediatrics.
How a dendritic cell vaccine is made
Two components are required for manufacturing an individual cancer vaccine:
- Patient's immune cells.
- Components of the patient's tumor.
The first one is obtained during the leukapheresis procedure, when about 200 ml of blood is collected from the patient's vein. German specialists immediately separate the blood into components and return plasma, erythrocytes, platelets, and unnecessary leukocyte fractions to the patient. To manufacture a vaccine, only one type of immune cell is used, i.e. monocytes. Leukapheresis takes a little time and has no side effects.
The harvested monocytes are cultivated in a GMP-certified laboratory, where healthcare professionals stimulate their transformation into dendritic cells. Young dendritic cells actively multiply on a nutrient medium. After receiving the required amount of cellular material, they are "acquainted" with the components of glioblastoma. This can be a tumor lysate (if a biopsy or surgery was performed) or synthetic glioblastoma peptides (if there were no interventions). As a result, dendritic cells are trained to resist the tumor masking and stimulate the destruction of its cells.
«The goal of manufacturing the vaccine is to obtain a sufficient number of active immune cells that will recognize glioblastoma and contribute to its destruction.»
After the completion of the laboratory stage, German doctors receive thousands of specialized immune cells that actively attack glioblastoma. The vaccine is administered intradermally or subcutaneously, after which dendritic cells reach lymph nodes of the head and neck region. Here they help immune killers (cells that directly attack malignant neoplasms) recognize glioblastoma antigens and destroy them.
Results of DC therapy for glioblastoma
Glioblastoma is a fairly aggressive type of cancer. With standard treatment, the average life expectancy after diagnosing the pathology is 15-17 months, and the 5-year survival rate does not exceed 3-5%. Clinical studies demonstrate that after the vaccination with dendritic cells, 30% of patients lived 2 years longer than the average expected time period, and in some cases this figure reached 7 years. Given the excellent tolerability of the drug, vaccination is indicated for almost all people with glioblastoma as an additional treatment method.
The main practical results of the dendritic cell vaccines administration:
- Prevention of glioblastoma recurrence after surgical removal of the primary tumor and a course of chemotherapy. During the operation, the surgeon cannot distinguish microscopic tumor metastases from healthy tissues, so some of the malignant cells remain in the body. Chemotherapy, which is used to suppress these cells, acts only during the course of treatment. Enhancing this standard regimen with immunotherapy makes it possible to create a stable anti-cancer immunity that will control the development of new cancer cells for months and destroy them.
- Treatment of recurrent tumors. In many cases, people with recurrent glioblastoma are not candidates for surgical treatment. Also, recurrent tumors are often resistant to chemotherapy. In such cases, immunotherapy using dendritic cells can inhibit the growth of the primary tumor and its metastases.
In all cases, immunotherapy demonstrates excellent results due to the ability of immune cells to freely move into the brain tissue and destroy infiltrating tumor cells. Where surgical intervention is associated with a high risk of complications, and chemotherapeutic drugs are unable to cross the blood-brain barrier, vaccination with dendritic cells is still effective.
Undergoing vaccination with dendritic cells for glioblastoma abroad
Treatment of glioblastoma with dendritic cells has not been included in the standard therapeutic protocol yet. The use of this method is limited due to the lack of relevant experience among healthcare professionals and the lack of equipment for manufacturing vaccines in hospitals. If doctors in your country are not ready to offer you this effective type of treatment, then you can contact one of the specialized German clinics. Doctors in Germany offer patients with glioblastoma both complex treatment (i.e. surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy) and postoperative vaccination.
Start your search for a clinic and a doctor from the Booking Health website. Booking Health is the international medical tourism operator that has been helping patients with glioblastoma undergo treatment in leading German clinics for more than 12 years.
The Booking Health team will help you:
- Find reliable information about German oncology centers and choose the most suitable one
- Arrange a preliminary distant consultation with the attending physician
- Make an appointment without a long wait
- Explore the preliminary diagnostic or treatment program – you will be able to estimate its duration and cost
- Receive medical care at a fair price, exclude taxes for foreign patients (save up to 50%)
- Purchase medicines to continue treatment in your country
- Communicate with medical staff: in the clinic, you will be accompanied by an interpreter
- Undergo additional examinations or rehabilitation, if necessary
- Double-check invoices from the hospital, and keep in touch with the healthcare facility after the treatment completion
- Obtain a visa, come to the clinic, choose the appropriate accommodation for the patient and an accompanying person
Booking Health doctors will control every stage of your treatment, and a personal coordinator will always be in touch with you via messengers. To start treatment in Germany, fill out the "Need help" form or contact Booking Health by phone.
Choose treatment abroad and you will for sure get the best results!
The article was edited by medical experts, board certified doctors Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova and Dr. Vadim Zhiliuk. For the treatment of the conditions referred to in the article, you must consult a doctor; the information in the article is not intended for self-medication!