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AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 29, Number 1, 2020


Treatment Shows Promise in Treating Deadly Brain Cancer

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Researchers of McMaster University and the University of Toronto have developed a promising immunotherapy treatment for a deadly form of adult brain cancer called glioblastoma.

The treatment is a type in which a patient’s T cells, which are a kind of immune cell in the blood, are changed in the laboratory so that they will bind to cancer cells and kill them. In this case, the treatment called glioblastoma involves genetically engineering a patient’s T cells to give the cells the ability to target and bind to a specific protein called CD133 in glioblastoma cells directly and eliminate them. 

When used in mice with human glioblastoma, CD133-targetting CAR-T therapy was considered a success due to reduced tumour burden and improved survival.

The data from this study has led to the formation of a new Hamilton-based start-up brain cancer immunotherapy company called Empirica Therapeutics. The company aims to run clinical trials in recurrent glioblastoma patients for the lead program CD133-specific CAR-Ts and other therapies by 2022. 

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