Killer cocktail fights brain cancer

November 25, 2013, Rockefeller University
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.

Explore further: New immuno-therapy for malignant brain tumors

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

Related Stories

New immuno-therapy for malignant brain tumors

November 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 ...

Doubling forces against glioblastomas: Two-drug combination slows malignant brain tumors in mice

October 25, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—A novel combination of two oral targeted drugs dramatically slowed the growth of glioblastoma brain tumors in mice and significantly extended the animals' survival, report scientists at Harvard Medical ...

Nano drug crosses blood-brain tumor barrier, targets brain tumor cells and blood vessels

July 17, 2013
(Phys.org) —An experimental drug in early development for aggressive brain tumors can cross the blood-brain tumor barrier and kill tumor cells and block the growth of tumor blood vessels, according to a recent study led ...

Researchers discover how cancer 'invisibility cloak' works

October 28, 2013
Researchers at National Jewish Health have discovered how a lipid secreted by cancer tumors prevents the immune system from mounting an immune response against it. When lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) binds to killer T cells, ...

Patient's own immune cells may blunt viral therapy for brain cancer

November 25, 2012
Doctors now use cancer-killing viruses to treat some patients with lethal, fast-growing brain tumors. Clinical trials show that these therapeutic viruses are safe but less effective than expected.

Finding antitumor T cells in a patient's own cancer

November 13, 2013
Patients with tumors that contain increased numbers of T lymphocytes generally survive longer than those with tumors without T-cell involvement, suggesting that T cells with potent antitumor function naturally exist in cancer ...

Recommended for you

Single-cell study in a childhood brain tumor affirms the importance of context

April 20, 2018
In defining the cellular context of diffuse midline gliomas, researchers find the cells fueling their growth and suggest a potential approach to treating them: forcing their cells to be more mature.

Aggressive breast cancer already has resistant tumour cells prior to chemotherapy

April 20, 2018
Difficult to treat and aggressive "triple-negative" breast cancer is chemoresistant even before chemotherapy begins, a new study by researchers from Karolinska Institutet and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center ...

Scientists identify 170 potential lung cancer drug targets using unique cellular library

April 19, 2018
After testing more than 200,000 chemical compounds, UT Southwestern's Simmons Cancer Center researchers have identified 170 chemicals that are potential candidates for development into drug therapies for lung cancer.

Mechanism that drives development of liver cancer brought on by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease discovered

April 19, 2018
A team of researchers from several institutions in China has found a mechanism that appears to drive the development of a type of liver cancer not caused by alcohol consumption. In their paper published in the journal Science ...

Discovery adds to evidence that some children are predisposed to develop leukemia

April 19, 2018
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital researchers have made a discovery that expands the list of genes to include when screening individuals for possible increased susceptibility to childhood leukemia. The finding is reported ...

Chip-based blood test for multiple myeloma could make bone biopsies a relic of the past

April 19, 2018
The diagnosis and treatment of multiple myeloma, a cancer affecting plasma cells, traditionally forces patients to suffer through a painful bone biopsy. During that procedure, doctors insert a bone-biopsy needle through an ...

0 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.