View Full Version : Duke Team Finds Missing Immune Cells That Could Fight Lethal Brain Tumors

08-14-2018, 08:40 PM
A mysterious lack of T-cells has hindered the immune system’s ability to fight glioblastoma

DURHAM, N.C. -- Glioblastoma brain tumors can have an unusual effect on the body’s immune system, often causing a dramatic drop in the number of circulating T-cells that help drive the body’s defenses.

Where the T-cells go has been unclear, even as immunotherapies are increasingly employed to stimulate the body’s natural ability to fight invasive tumors.

Now researchers at Duke Cancer Institute have tracked the missing T-cells in glioblastoma patients. They found them in abundance in the bone marrow, locked away and unable to function because of a process the brain stimulates in response to glioblastoma, to other tumors that metastasize in the brain and even to injury.

The findings, published online Aug. 13 in the journal Nature Medicine, open a new area of exploration for adjunct cancer drugs that could free trapped T-cells from the bone marrow, potentially improving the effectiveness of existing and new immunotherapies.

“Part of the problem with all these immunotherapies -- particularly for glioblastoma and other tumors that have spread to the brain -- is that the immune system is shot,” said lead author Peter E. Fecci, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Program in Duke’s Department of Neurosurgery. “If the goal is to activate the T-cells and the T-cells aren’t there, you’re simply delivering therapy into a black hole.”

Fecci said the research team began its search for the missing T-cells after observing that many newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients have the equivalent immune systems of people with full-blown AIDS, even before they undergo surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

Where most people have a CD-4 “helper” T-cell count upwards of 700-1,000, a substantial proportion of untreated glioblastoma patients have counts of 200 or less, marking poor immune function that makes them susceptible to all manner of infections and potentially to progression of their cancer.

Duke Team Finds Missing Immune Cells That Could Fight Lethal Brain Tumors (LINK) (https://corporate.dukehealth.org/news-listing/duke-team-finds-missing-immune-cells-could-fight-lethal-brain-tumors)

#include [ std-disclaimer ]

08-14-2018, 08:43 PM
That's an amazing story! Thank you.

08-15-2018, 07:49 AM
...now, if they can make their mouse magic work in people and free the marrow-mired T-cells, they'll really have something.