It is estimated that 1 in 161 individuals born today will develop brain or nervous system cancer at some point in their lives. Although significant advances have been made in understanding the biology of these cancers—as well as in tumor diagnosis, treatments, and quality of life of patients with the disease—the mortality rate has remained steady for more than 30 years. New and developing cancer immunotherapies have the potential to reduce the harmful effects and improve survival rates for patients with brain and nervous system cancers.
This Brain Tumor Awareness Month, we look at immunotherapy clinical trials, new scientific research, and how we’re working toward a future immune to cancers of the brain and nervous system.
Transforming Brain Cancer Care
David Reardon, M.D., the clinical director at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Center for Neuro-Oncology, explained the science of cancer immunotherapy to an audience of patients and caregivers at the CRI Immunotherapy Patient Summit in Boston last year.
Brain Cancer Patient Story
Jeannine Walston was just 24 when she was first diagnosed with a brain tumor. After her third brain surgery, she entered a clinical trial for a personalized dendritic cell vaccine, a type of immunotherapy. (Dendritic cells
digest foreign and cancerous cells and present their proteins to immune cells that can destroy them.) Today, she is a passionate patient advocate.
Read Jeannine's Brain Cancer Story
Brain Cancer Scientist Spotlight
CRI Fellow Martina Molgora, Ph.D., aims to characterize the role of platelet-derived growth factor D (PDGFD) in natural killer cell activation and tumor control in glioblastoma. Additionally, she will characterize how PDGFD-targeting therapies influence the immune response in combination with therapies that target other immune cells.
Learn about Dr. Molgora's glioblastoma research
Glioblastoma Patient Perspective
Ernestina (with her daughter Josileny) discussed her experience on a clinical trial combining radiation, chemotherapy, and biweekly infusions of the immunotherapy nivolumab for glioblastoma at the CRI Immunotherapy Patient Summit in Boston last year.
Immunotherapy for Brain Cancer
Immunotherapy for cancers of the brain and nervous system offers potential new treatment options for a devastating set of diseases. Several immunotherapies are being used to treat different types of brain cancer in clinical trials.
VIEW Immunotherapy for Brain Cancer UPDATE
Find a Brain Cancer Clinical Trial
A variety of new and promising cancer immunotherapy treatments are only available to patients in clinical trials. Our Immunotherapy Clinical Trial Finder will match you to trials for which you may be eligible, and you can help speed the development of potentially lifesaving drugs for yourself and others.
FIND A cancer clinical TRIAL
Support Brain Cancer Research
In 2015, CRI opened a phase 2 trial (still ongoing) to test the safety and efficacy of durvalumab (IMFINZI®), a PD-L1 checkpoint immunotherapy, in patients newly diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. The most recent results, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, showed promise: durvalumab was well tolerated when combined with radiation therapy and seemed to have efficacy among patients. This Brain Tumor Awareness Month, support lifesaving cancer immunotherapy research.
Donate to brain cancer research