AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 28, Number 3, 2019

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Delivering Immunotherapy Directly to Brain Tumors

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A new study gives insight into how immunotherapies, treatments that help the body’s immune system fight cancer, might one day be delivered directly to the brain in order to treat brain tumors.

The study demonstrated that a new type of nano-immunotherapy traversed the blood-brain barrier in laboratory mice, inducing a local immune response in brain tissue surrounding the tumors. The tumor cells stopped multiplying, and survival rates increased.

For patients with glioblastoma, the most common and also most deadly form of brain cancer, immunotherapies like this could hold the key to longer survival, said Julia Ljubimova, MD, PhD, senior author of the study and professor of neurosurgery and Biomedical Sciences at Cedars-Sinai.

“This study showed a promising and exciting outcome,” Ljubimova said. “Current clinically proven methods of brain cancer immunotherapy do not ensure that therapeutic drugs cross the blood-brain barrier. Although our findings were not made in humans, they bring us closer to developing a treatment that might effectively attack brain tumors with systematic drug administration.”

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