Preclinical Study Uncovers Potential Key to Treating Deadly Brain Tumors

July 18, 2022 08:53:59

A new study has found an alternative approach that would make immunotherapy treatments more effective when treating brain tumors. Immunotherapy drugs are usually used to treat a range of cancers. However, glioblastoma multiforme, which is a fatal type of cancer, remains resistant to this revolutionary treatment because the immune system finds it hard to detect and target these tumors, allowing them to grow undisturbed.

Researchers have been looking for ways to treat this deadly cancer whose tumors are usually hidden behind the blood-brain barrier. This location hinders drugs from crossing into the central nervous system’s fluid.

For their research, the investigators focused on the STING pathway, which derives its name from the STING protein. This particular protein plays a crucial role in helping cells detect cancer cells and pathogens. The objective of the researchers was to find a way to overcome this particular drug-delivery challenge.

The researchers used biodegradable implants filled with a drug that could activate the STING pathway on glioblastoma multiforme mouse models. This led to the discovery that this treatment remodeled the tumor’s immune environment and attracted cells that would destroy it while also producing long-term immunity against relapse.

In their report, the researchers explained that they observed a shift in the immune landscape of the tumor after therapy administration, with an inflow of immune cells such as natural killer cells, neutrophils and inflammatory macrophages.

Gilles Berger, the first and corresponding author of the study, stated that the group’s findings also showed that glioblastoma explants secreted cytokines in response to STING agonists, which demonstrated that the pathway was active in human tumors and could be used as a therapy approach for this deadly cancer. Antonio Chiocca, the study’s coauthor, added that these findings pointed to an alternative approach of using brain implants loaded with drugs to alter the tumor microenvironment. Sean Lawler, the study’s co-corresponding author, credited the progress made up until now to the collaboration between cancer researchers, neurosurgeons and biomedical engineers.

The researchers note that despite their promising findings, stimulating such a robust immune response in the brain needs to be done with great caution. They add that their research is proof of principle and that more testing is required in order to determine the most effective delivery approach.

The study, which was led by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, in collaboration with Wyss Institute experts, reported its findings in “PNAS.”

As more companies such as CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) allocate greater resources to engaging in brain cancer R&D, patients are likely to access new medicines that are much better options to what is currently available.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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