Direct-to-brain Chemo Better Than Systemic Drugs When Immunotherapy is to Follow
Animal study suggests “best practice” for preserving the immune system
In experiments on mice with a form of aggressive brain cancer, Johns Hopkins researchers have shown that localized chemotherapy delivered directly to the brain rather than given systemically may be the best way to keep the immune system intact and strong when immunotherapy is also part of the treatment. The researchers say their study results could directly affect the design of immunotherapy clinical trials and treatment strategies for people with a deadly form of brain cancer call glioblastoma. “We understand that our research was done in a mouse model and not in humans, but our evidence is strong that systemic chemotherapy alters the immune system in a way that it never fully recovers,” says Michael Lim, MD, associate professor of neurosurgery and director of brain tumor immunotherapy at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. “With aggressive cancers like glioblastoma, it is important that we don’t handicap the defenses we may need to add alternative treatments, such as immunotherapy, to chemotherapy,” he adds.
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