LEXINGTON, Mass., Oct. 25, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Antigenics, Inc. (Nasdaq:AGEN) today announced the expansion of a phase 2 clinical study of HSPPC-96 (Oncophage ® vaccine; vitespen), Antigenics' personalized therapeutic cancer vaccine, in patients with newly diagnosed glioma.

"Early results from this trial in the newly diagnosed setting are very encouraging, and we have seen no treatment-related toxicities," said Andrew T. Parsa, MD, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco and lead investigator in the trial now being expanded. "HSPPC-96 is part of an emerging frontier in personalized medicine for the treatment of cancer. Our data has shown that the vaccine triggers an immune response against the patient's cancer."

HSPPC-96 is made from each individual's tumor and contains the 'antigenic fingerprint' of the patient's particular cancer. An antigenic fingerprint is a collection of peptides in a patient's tumor. The body's T-cells read these peptides to coordinate an immune response to the malignant cells. 

This personalized therapeutic vaccine is designed to reprogram the body's immune system to target only cancer cells bearing this fingerprint. And, different than vaccines using a single antigen, HSPCC-96 contains many antigens that attack multiple aspects of the tumor and may produce a more robust response.

"I'm excited to expand this trial into multiple centers and enable greater access for patients with limited treatment options who are fighting brain tumors," added Parsa. "Knowing UCSF has recognized this research as one of its top priorities for the university underscores its importance."

The multi-center trial will enroll up to 50 patients and will be open to participation at select brain tumor research centers in the United States, including the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated centers for Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE). Dr. Parsa, and his work in glioma, was recently featured on the "Stand Up To Cancer" benefit and on CNN.com; http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/09/10/experimental.vaccine.delays.cancer/index.html

"Ensuring the advancement of HSPPC-96 in glioma is an area of primary focus for Antigenics," said Garo H. Armen, PhD, chairman and CEO of Antigenics. "We expect the expansion of this trial to additional centers will enhance patient enrollment and in turn will expedite the completion of this important study so we can move towards a registrational trial as quickly as possible."