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Researchers find new immunotherapy target in aggressive brain tumors

11:24 am by | 5 Comments

NY-ESO-1 staining in meningiomav2_hi resResearchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine have discovered that a protein associated with melanomas and a variety of other cancers is also present in nearly 100 percent of malignant, aggressive forms of a common brain tumor — meningiomas. Although meningiomas are benign in 90 percent of cases, about 10 percent are either atypical and/or malignant.

The discovery of the NY-ESO-1 protein in malignant forms of meningiomas is significant, according to a statement from Johns Hopkins, because they could serve as a new target for immunotherapies in cases that do not respond to current treatments.

There are about 66 clinical trials focusing on the NY-ESO-1 protein in various stages of development, according to the ClinicalTrials.gov website.

There’s one trial of particular interest at the National Cancer Institute. It’s beginning Phase 2 clinical trials for an anticancer vaccine. The idea is to activate the immune systems of patients with other types of tumors that express the protein, training the body to attack the cancer and eradicate it.

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What’s interesting, according to a statement from Johns Hopkins, is in the NCI trial, NY-ESO-1 is found in a much smaller percentage of tumors than Dr. Gregory J. Riggins, a professor of neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and his team found intheir study of high-grade meningiomas.

“Typically there is a lag time before a laboratory finding like this leads to a clear path forward to help patients,” said Riggins. “But in this case, since there is already a clinical trial underway, we have a chance of helping people sooner rather than later.”

The findings by Riggins and his team were published in the journal Cancer Immunology Research.

Immunotherapy is a particularly active area of cancer research and treatment development, according to the Aamerican Cancer Society.

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Stephanie Baum

By Stephanie Baum

Stephanie Baum is the East Coast Innovation Reporter for MedCityNews.com. She enjoys covering healthcare startups across health IT, drug development and medical devices and innovations deployed to improve medical care. She graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania and has worked across radio, print and video. She's written for The Christian Science Monitor, Dow Jones & Co. and United Business Media.
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5 comments
Mama_Hbic
Mama_Hbic

My daughter has had an A-typical meningomia since 2008 and has had three major surgeries. So far we have avoided radiation but now they want her to undergo treatment. How do we find out more about this ?

Guillaume
Guillaume

Meningiomas are usually considered a benign tumor.

LisaMacG
LisaMacG

@Guillaume they usually are, 90% this article said.  My neuro said something close to that when mine was found.  But some are not and they are still meningiomas.