Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Radiation and intratumoral injection turn on immune system to attack brain tumor cells


Researchers at Cedars-Sinai’s Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute are working to develop a non-surgical approach to brain cancer that uses radiation and the injection of specially cultured bone marrow cells into the tumor. The combination sets in motion a local and systemic immune response to kill surviving tumor cells.

The novel approach has provided promising results in a study on rats, described in the March 3 issue of the Journal of Immunotherapy. Human trials are expected to begin within the year, according to John S. Yu, M.D., senior author of the article and co-director of the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program at the Institute.

This therapy may prove to be an important step in the development of dendritic cell immunotherapy, which Institute neurosurgeons and scientists have been using experimentally for the past few years. Early results have shown promise for extending length of survival in patients with highly aggressive brain tumors called gliomas.

Dendritic cells, elements of the immune system, "clean up" foreign proteins and in the process identify them as invaders for the immune system’s T-cells to attack. This is a key role because several mechanisms allow glioma cells to grow and spread without being detected by the immune system.

In current dendritic cell immunotherapy, neurosurgeons must first surgically remove tumor cells from the patient’s brain and culture them with dendritic cells in the laboratory. When the resulting "vaccine" is injected under the skin, the dendritic cells recognize tumor cells as invaders, triggering an immune response. The new approach is based on recent studies showing that dendritic cells can identify dying tumor cells in the body, not just tumor cells they are exposed to in the laboratory.

"If the good results we’ve seen in the animal study are repeated when we move into human trials, we may be able offer hope even for patients who have brain tumors in locations that cannot be accessed surgically," said Keith L. Black, M.D., one of the article’s authors and director of the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute. "Over the course of the past several years, we have been involved in a number of research findings that we think will lead to dramatic changes in the way these deadly tumors are treated. Instead of exposing the patient to harsh therapies that bring with them side effects and serious risks, we’re moving toward helping the immune system heal the body itself."

A pioneer in the use of dendritic cell immunotherapy to combat brain tumors, Dr. Black directs the medical center’s Division of Neurosurgery and the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program, and he holds the Ruth and Lawrence Harvey Chair in Neuroscience.

In the animal study, dendritic cells taken from bone marrow and cultured were injected into gliomas that contained some tumor cells that had been exposed to radiation and others that had not. As the dendritic cells began taking up and processing pieces of dying tumor, they set off a local immune system response, enlisting T-cells to destroy the tumor.

Injected dendritic cells also moved into regional lymph nodes where they would be able to activate additional T-cells to fight metastatic cancer cells. Migration to the lymph nodes also initiated a systemic immune response, enlisting other "cytokines" against glioma cells. Furthermore, dendritic cells are associated with the secretion of Interleukin-12, a naturally occurring chemical that Institute researchers have found to be extremely effective in killing glioma cells.

This is the first study in which dendritic cells have been delivered directly into brain tumors with therapeutic success. Animals receiving the dendritic cell treatment lived considerably longer than controls. Even after having new tumors implanted later, rats that had been treated with dendritic cell immunotherapy continued to survive, an indication of the long-lasting benefits of the vaccine.

Researchers hope similar benefits – with improved success rates and less need for open surgery – will be seen when the therapy moves into human trials. Radiosurgery – which focuses radiation beams from hundreds of computer-selected angles on a tumor – kills cancer cells while minimizing damage to nearby tissues and vital structures. Rarely, however, is a tumor completely obliterated. The initiation of immunotherapy is intended to "mop up" the tumor cells that escape.

Moneeb Ehtesham, M.D., post-doctoral fellow at the Institute, is the article’s first author. The work was supported in part by grant NS02232 to Dr. Yu from the National Institutes of Health.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is one of the largest nonprofit academic medical centers in the Western United States. For the fifth straight two-year period, it has been named Southern California’s gold standard in health care in an independent survey. Cedars-Sinai is internationally renowned for its diagnostic and treatment capabilities and its broad spectrum of programs and services, as well as breakthrough in biomedical research and superlative medical education. Named one of the 100 "Most Wired" hospitals in health care in 2001, the Medical Center ranks among the top 10 non-university hospitals in the nation for its research activities.

Sandra Van | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>