New immunotherapy combo effectively treats advanced brain cancer in pre-clinical models

Researchers in the University of California developed a combination treatment, which involves a vaccine activating an immune response against advanced brain cancer. The treatment harnesses an antibody blockade to keep the brain cancer from shielding itself from the immune cells.
This way, the patient’s immune cells identify the tumor and attack it. The survival period of people diagnosed with glioblastoma (GBM) is short since it is estimated between 14 to 18 months although the patients undergo various treatments, like chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.
According to the article published in the journal JCI Insight, a three year-study shows hopeful results. Drs. Robert Prins, Timothy Cloughesy and Linda Liau as well as all UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center members discovered that when a dendritic cell vaccine is combined with an antibody blockade of an immune cell surface receptor named PD-1 enables an effective immune response against glioblastoma.
This results of their findings outline the mechanism by which efficient immune response is seen in brain tumors. “We discovered that effective anti-tumor immunity to glioblastoma must have a significant infiltration of killer T cells and a blockade of the important checkpoint axes that make these killer T cells dysfunctional within the tumor,” said Dr. Prins.
The doctor explained that the combination treatment enables the immune system to understand that the GBM is a foreign invader and so it prevents the brain cancer from growing or recurring.
The PD1/PD-1 antibody blockade might not be successful in GBM without important T-cell infiltration. The dendritic cell vaccine enables the infiltration of T-cells into the brain tumors whereas the PD-1 antibody blockade removes the shield, which is activated from the tumor in order to hide from the immune system.
This is a different approach from prior research in non-small cell lung cancer or metastatic melanoma because it shows that immune response activated by dendritic cell va