11 July 2016
A new treatment with the potential to activate an immune response against advanced brain tumours has been developed.
Created by the University of California, Los Angeles, the new combination therapy utilises a type of dendritic cell vaccine in tandem with an antibody blocker targeting an immune cell surface receptor called PD-1.
This prevents the brain cancer from shielding itself from the patient's own immune cells, allowing the immune system to recognise the brain tumour and attack it. Early studies have indicated this may be more effective than current treatment options.
Study leader Dr Robert Prins said: "These findings are the first that specifically outline the mechanism by which an effective immune response can be seen in tumours located in the brain."
This could represent a new breakthrough in the treatment of glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer associated with extremely poor prognoses in most people with the disease. Median survival following treatments, such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, is generally 14 to 18 months.
Posted by Philip Briggs
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