Killer cocktail fights brain cancer

The tumor (dark region, left) in this mouse brain was eradicated (arrowhead, right) with a novel drug cocktail, according to a Journal of Experimental Medicine study. Credit: vom Berg et al., 2013

A novel immune-boosting drug combination eradicates brain cancer in mice, according to a study in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Glioblastoma is the most aggressive form of , and current treatments only modestly prolong patient survival. Immune cells called T cells have the capacity to attack and kill , but tumors can counteract this attack by creating an environment that dampens T cell activity. T cells have ways of limiting their own activation (and thus autoimmunity), one of which is to express inhibitory cell surface proteins upon activation. In other cancer models, strategies to block these inhibitory proteins have been shown to reinvigorate T cell activation and thus promote .

Burkhard Becher and colleagues at the University of Zurich now show that a two-pronged approach is most effective against glioblastoma. They simultaneously injected mice with a T cell–boosting protein called interleukin-12 and a drug that blocks the inhibitory receptor CTLA-4. The cocktail eradicated the animals' brain tumors.

Whether these findings will pave the way for a new therapeutic approach to treat glioblastoma in humans awaits clinical trials.

More information: vom Berg, J., et al. 2013. J. Exp. Med. DOI: 10.1084/jem.20130678

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New immuno-therapy for malignant brain tumors

Nov 25, 2013

Animal experiments show that it is relatively easy to treat cancer in the early stages. However, it is far more difficult to successfully treat advanced cancer. Treatment of brain tumors is particularly challenging because ...

Recommended for you

Scientists zero in on how lung cancer spreads

Dec 24, 2014

Cancer Research UK scientists have taken microscopic images revealing that the protein ties tethering cells together are severed in lung cancer cells - meaning they can break loose and spread, according to ...

Scientists identify rare cancer's genetic pathways

Dec 24, 2014

An international research team, including four Simon Fraser University scientists, has identified the "mutational landscape" of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC), a rare, highly fatal form of liver cancer that disproportionately ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.