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Brain Tumor Awareness Month: 2020 Immunotherapy Research Update

May 13, 2020

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, brain cancer veteranJeannine 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

Martina MolgoraCRI 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
Information Updated

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

Be in the know with the latest immunotherapy news

*Immunotherapy results may vary from patient to patient.

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