LEXINGTON, Mass., May 22, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Agenus Inc. (Nasdaq:AGEN) today announced enrollment has started for a large, randomized Phase 2 study of Prophage G-200 (Heat Shock Protein Peptide Complex-96 or HSPPC-96) vaccine in combination with bevacizumab (Avastin ®) for treatment of recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in adult patients. The study is being sponsored by the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology (ALLIANCE), a cooperative group of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The trial is expected to enroll 222 patients in treatment centers across the United States, and is the largest brain tumor vaccine trial ever funded by NCI and the largest vaccine study ever conducted with Avastin. "The initiation of enrollment in this groundbreaking trial to evaluate the efficacy of treatment with HSPPC-96 in conjunction with bevacizumab in recurrent GBM represents a major milestone in efforts to develop effective vaccines for people living with brain tumors. The significant commitment to this trial from the NCI is also a reflection of the rapidly emerging promise of vaccines as potential treatment options for millions of people with different forms of cancer," said Andrew T. Parsa, MD, Ph.D., study chair for the trial and newly appointed chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery at Northwestern University. At the American Society for Clinical Oncology meeting in 2011, Dr. Parsa presented data indicating that the Prophage G-200 vaccine may help recurrent GBM patients live longer and suggesting a possible clinical benefit. These research findings, along with other preclinical and clinical data, were used to support further testing of Prophage G-200 and were key considerations in the decision by the NCI to sponsor a clinical trial involving Prophage G-200 combined with Avastin in the treatment of recurrent GBM. "Our research shows that Prophage Series vaccines have the potential to play an important role in the treatment of gliomas and other forms of cancer," said Garo Armen, Ph.D., CEO and chairman of Agenus. "We are very pleased to be collaborating with the Alliance and NCI on this landmark research effort."