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The Foundation has awarded US$200,000 to the research team led by Duane A. Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D. from The University of Florida’s Brain Tumour Immunotherapy Program.

“BRAVO” is a phase 1 clinical trial of newly diagnosed Brain Stem Gliomas treated with Adoptive Cellular Therapy during recovery from radiation and dose intensified Temozolomide.

Cancer immunotherapy has shown significant promise in the treatment of several types of advanced malignancies.
Dr Mitchell’s team have developed a novel platform for adoptive cellular therapy to treat malignant brain tumours using intravenous infusion of large numbers of tumour-reactive killer T cells into tumour bearing hosts (mice).

They have adapted the use of dendritic cells that have been electroporated with tumour RNA as a novel antigen presentation platform for the ex vivo expansion of tumour-specific T cells. The capacity to amplify RNA from limiting numbers of tumour cells allows for a renewable resource of tumour antigen to be generated from patients undergoing tumour biopsies.

The preclinical studies of Dr Mitchell’s team have demonstrated the strength of this approach in mice models of glioblastoma, medulloblastoma and DIPG. Concurrently, their clinical studies in patients with recurrent medulloblastoma and primitive neuroectodermal tumours (PNETs) has also demonstrated the safety, feasibility and potential clinical efficacy of this approach in paediatric patients with brain tumours.

In this latest clinical study, Dr Mitchell’s team will apply this adoptive cellular therapy to newly diagnosed DIPG patients. This trial has the potential to advance a treatment option that may be of direct benefit to patients with DIPG. Their objective is to demonstrate the feasibility, safety and immunologic effects of this treatment within a 3-year timeframe.