Project title: Phase 1 study of SurVaxM ™ in survivin-positive NETs

Renuka Iyer, MD Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Renuka Iyer, MD
  • Status: Completed
  • Year(s): 2018
  • Grant Type: Pilot
  • Research Type: Clinical
  • Primary Tumor Site: Small intestine
  • Area of Inquiry: Clinical trials

General Description

This study tests the immunotherapy SurVaxM in combination with a somatostatin analog in patients with survivin-expressing NETs. The vaccine targets survivin, a protein that’s often highly expressed in lung, intestinal, and pancreatic NETs and associated with aggressive disease because of its ability to prevent tumor cell death. Many patients with incurable brain cancers on SurvaxM have shown better outcomes than would be expected with standard of care alone.


Survivin is a protein expressed in many cancers and inhibits cell death. Previously we found that ~ half of NETs express survivin which was associated with aggressive disease and poor outcomes. SurVaxM is a novel, well-tolerated vaccine against survivin developed by our group and has been successfully tested in brain tumors with temozolamide, an oral chemotherapeutic agent. With grant support from NETRF, we tested SurVaxM in survivin+ NET patients. In 20% of those patients, clinical benefit was seen and correlated with IgG antibody levels.

Immunotherapy has not been as effective in NETs as other cancers and having limited preclinical models to find new targets or test new combinations of immunotherapy/vaccines in NETs has been a critical barrier to progress. The presence of survivin in almost half of the NETs makes this an option that would be of use to many NET patients and the immune response studies we plan to do will tell us who benefits, or needs a booster, giving us a new way to treat NETs and design vaccine studies in these patients in the future.

Additional Details

  • City: Buffalo
  • State: New York
  • Grant Duration: 1 year


NETRF funds laboratory research to understand the development of neuroendocrine tumors and translational research to explore new concepts in treatment. Research grant descriptions and research updates from NETRF are not intended to serve as medical advice. It can take years for research discoveries to be fully validated and approved for patient care. Always consult your health care providers about your treatment options.

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