Normalizing Blood Vessels in Tumors Could Improve Brain Cancer Immunotherapy

Around 700,000 Americans are estimated to be living with a primary brain tumor. The deadly condition has an incredibly high fatality rate, and it significantly disrupts the quality of life of brain cancer patients and their families.

Although tumors can’t be completely cured, early detection can allow doctors to deploy treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy to kill off cancer cells and reduce the size of the tumor. Even so, researchers are constantly searching for novel treatment options that are capable of treating tumors more effectively and with fewer side effects on the patient.

Investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital recently published a study suggesting that normalizing the blood vessels in tumors could potentially improve the effectiveness of brain cancer immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a relatively novel means of cancer treatment that boosts or changes the body’s immune system and helps it fight off cancer cells on its own.

While immunotherapies such as CAR-T cell therapy have shown promising results against several blood cancers types, it hasn’t been effective against glioblastoma. This is an incredibly lethal type of brain cancer that usually starts growing in the spinal cord or brain cells. It affects people of all ages and has an average survival time of 12 to 18 months after diagnosis.

Furthermore, just 25% of glioblastoma patients survive for more than a year and only 5% survive for more than five years after receiving their diagnosis. Massachusetts General Hospital researchers found that using medication to fix abnormalities in the blood vessels within a solid tumor can improve the delivery of the effectiveness of CAR-T cell therapy.

Rakesh K. Jain, the study’s senior author, stated that one of the reasons CAR-T cell therapy has limited efficacy against brain tumors is that they create an immunosuppressive environment that protects them from anticancer treatments. Jain added that the effectiveness of CAR-T cell therapy is limited by the fact that modified immune cells can only access limited areas of the brain tumor.

The researchers used an antibody to block the function of a key angiogenic molecule dubbed the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) to overcome barriers that prevent anticancer treatments from penetrating solid tumors and improve CAR-T cell infiltration.

They found that “normalizing” solid tumor blood vessels can improve the delivery of immunotherapy and improve the anticancer function of the body’s naturally produced immune cells. Furthermore, the treatment was able to inhibit the growth of tumors and increase the survival rates of animal models with glioblastoma. The study’s findings were published in the “Journal of ImmunoTherapy of Cancer.

The promise of manipulating angiogenesis in brain tumors to boost treatment effectiveness could be a direction that many companies such as CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) look into in the coming years to see how their drug-development pipelines can benefit from this discovery.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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