CRI Funded Scientists

Gavin Peter Dunn, MD, PhD, CRI Lloyd J. Old STAR

Washington University School of Medicine

Area of Research: Brain Cancer

Dr. Dunn focuses on understanding the immune response to malignant brain cancers and how to use this knowledge to improve treatment for these patients. Unlike other cancers, there are no FDA-approved immunotherapies for aggressive tumors such as glioblastoma (GBM), which highlights our limited understanding of immune response in the brain, which is immunologically unique.

In order to improve our understanding, Dr. Dunn is studying fundamental questions in GBM immunobiology, such as: Which cells present brain tumor material to the immune system? What brain tumor-specific molecules are recognized by the immune system and how can we design treatments against them? Do specialized brain structures harbor cells and functions important in immune responses?  

In order to understand the answers to these fundamental questions—the answers to which are necessary to develop improved immunotherapies against brain cancer—Dr. Dunn uses well-characterized models of mouse brain cancer and has developed novel clinical trials to directly address these key areas in patients. Ultimately, Dr. Dunn’s approaches will lead to new insights that will stimulate more effective brain-specific immunotherapies and also help us understand fundamental mechanisms underlying how the immune system develops responses to brain diseases.

Projects and Grants

Dissecting the Immune Response from Beginning to Effector in Central Nervous System Cancers

Washington University School of Medicine | Brain Cancer | 2020

The Immunologic and Genomic Effects of Focused Ultrasound in Glioblastoma

Washington University School of Medicine | All Cancers, Brain Cancer | 2019

Monitoring the Anti-Tumor Immune Response in Glioblastoma Patients Treated with a Personalized Neoepitope Vaccine

Washington University School of Medicine | All Cancers, Brain Cancer | 2016

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