UCSF researchers develop T cell immunotherapy for DIPG

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Researchers at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) have developed a T cell based therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of diffuse  intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a rare pediatric brain tumor.

The preclinical studies focused on the DIPG specific proteins histone 3 variant 3 and  HLA A, which are found on more than 70 and 40% of cases respectively. The neoantigen vaccine developed thus consisted of T cells which were engineered to express a receptor best suited to these proteins. Applying these cells to a murine model of DIPG was therefore I tended to train the immune system to recognise and respond to the tumor specific proteins. The in vivo studies found the glioma size being reduced by a significant amount when applied with the modified T cells.

With nearly 300 diagnoses each year in the USA, this approach highlights a potential route of treatment for the tumor which cannot be treated surgically due it’s placement in a  area of the brain stem which controls vital functions including heart rate and breathing. As such, the majority of cases are ultimately fatal.

‘It is important to develop more innovative treatment approaches for childhood brain cancers, which now are the leading cause of cancer death in children. DIPG is a very deadly type of brain cancer, and not many children survive beyond 12 months from the time of diagnosis. Most neoantigens in cancer are unique to individual patients, but this is one of very, very few examples of a shared, common neoantigen that may have the potential to be used in many patients’ commented Hideho Okada, senior author and professor at UCSF.

Source: New immunotherapy targets misshapen protein in rare childhood brain cancerPress Release