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World-first immunotherapy treatment trial for brain cancer

October 23, 2015

The world-first immunotherapy trial for brain cancer has commenced in Brisbane, Queensland. QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in partnership with The Newro Foundation is conducting a novel immunotherapy clinical trial targeting glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and malignant type of brain cancer.

The trial involves taking a blood sample from a patient newly diagnosed with GBM and growing their killer T-cells, a type of white blood cell, in a laboratory.  Researchers hope that the infused T-cells will give the patient’s immune system a boost to attack the tumour and kill the cancer.

Researchers hope the development of this treatment, used in conjunction with standard chemotherapy and radiotherapy, will reduce the rate of tumour recurrence in patients.

Lead researcher and renowned tumour immunologist Professor Rajiv Khanna, who developed this therapy in collaboration with neurosurgeon Professor David Walker at Newro Foundation, said immunotherapy had great potential to target GBM.

“This is the new frontier in cancer treatment,” Professor Khanna said.

“We hope it will soon become part of the normal treatment, alongside chemotherapy and radiation.”

QIMR Berghofer Director and CEO Professor Frank Gannon said QIMR Berghofer is focussed on producing research with outcomes beyond the laboratory, and that “this is an excellent example of our efforts to get laboratory discoveries through to clinical trials and eventually the hospital bedside.”

The original news item was published on the QIMR website.  http://www.qimrberghofer.edu.au/2015/09/hope-for-brain-cancer-patients-with-world-first-clinical-trial-in-brisbane/

The Australian Cancer Research Foundation has supported cancer research at QIMR Berghofer with three grants, totalling AUD 6.65m.

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