University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) scientists have published research findings that could provide deeper insight into why some types of brain tumors respond to immunotherapy while others don’t. While many types of brain tumors typically respond to immunotherapy, an aggressive type of brain cancer called glioblastoma is quite difficult to treat even with immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that essentially trains the immune system to identify and kill cancer cells, making them more effective at destroying tumors. Glioblastomas start growing from cells in the spinal cord or brain called astrocytes and quickly invade the rest of the brain, destroying healthy tissue and causing symptoms such as seizures, memory problems, muscle weakness and speech problems.
Researchers from UCLA set out to find out why glioblastomas are so hard to treat with immunotherapy even though other types of brain cancers typically respond to the treatment. Senior study author and UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine professor of molecular and medical pharmacology and neurosurgery Dr. Robert Prins says the researchers were keen on understanding the underlying antitumor immune responses in cancers that respond to immunotherapy. They would then contrast these antitumor responses to the responses seen in brain tumors such as glioblastoma that originate from the brain and are hard to treat.
Glioblastoma primarily differs from other cancerous brain tumors because it arises from the brain while other tumors often originate from other parts of the body before spreading to the brain. According to Prins, the white blood cells in patients with tumors that develop outside the brain are “primed’” to respond to immunotherapy due to activation by lymph nodes, making them more responsive to immunotherapy.
Prins and his team set out to re-create the process that primed white blood cells for immunotherapy in a laboratory to potentially optimize glioblastoma treatments. The team artificially created this process by using samples from patients to generate dendritic cells before pulsing the dendritic cells with tumor-specific proteins and reinjecting them into the patients.
Dr. Naveed Wagle, an associate professor of translational neurosciences at Saint John’s Cancer Institute in California and Providence Saint John’s Health Center neuro-oncologist, said the study’s findings provide a deeper insight into the differences between immune cells in the brain and immune cells in other parts of the body. He said that the findings pointed to a potential intrinsic difference between the development of cells in the brain and the rest of the body.
As brain cancer is kept under the spotlight by numerous entities such as CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP), a time could come when some of the most hard-to-treat malignancies can be treated effectively.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/CNSP
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