Enhancing immune system may boost survival for brain cancer patients

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February 24, 2016

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Researchers study targeted immune sys. cells to improve immune response to fight off cancer.

Brain cancer researchers at Washington University are exploring how lymphocytes, cells that help the immune system respond to cancer, could replenish the immune system of patients with high-grade glioma who have undergone chemotherapy to improve their outcomes. Lymphopenia, or the condition of having an abnormally low level of lymphocytes of the blood, is associated with early tumor progression. Researchers say radiation and temozolomide (TMZ) may play a major role in it. In a study, led by Jian Li Campian, M.D., Ph.D. of the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine, researchers found that two months following radiation therapy and temozolomide, 40% of patients suffered from grade 3-4 lymphopenia with a low TLC and CD4 cell count.

Further studies are needed to determine if the immune system can be restored after this treatment-induced damage, and immunotherapy is one potential treatment being considered – including harvesting circulating lymphocytes from patients before undergoing radiation therapy / TMZ, and then reinfusing these cryopreserved lymphocytes once the radiation was complete.

To read more about this study, visit Onclive.com.