The study, published this week on the peer-reviewed open access journal Nature Communications, demonstrated that a new type of nano-immunotherapy traversed the bloodbrain 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."
Harnessing the power of the body's own immune system to attack tumors is a concept that has intrigued investigators for decades. Scientists have been studying ways to persuade the immune system to attack tumors in the same way that it attacks, for example, a virus.
While promising, this idea presents a few key challenges, especially when it comes to brain tumors. The environment of the brain can be hard to penetrate with drugs or other therapies.
The blood-brain barrier, which the body uses to naturally block toxins and other harmful substances in the bloodstream from getting into the brain, can keep out potentially life-saving treatments.
You can read up to 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD
Log in, if you are already a subscriber
Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories, newspapers and 5,000+ magazines
READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE