The study was funded primarily by Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Institutes of Health, looking for new treatments for patients with brain tumors.
Yale researchers found a way to pass on the brain's natural defenses when they become counterproductive. The research was published in the journal Nature.
“People had thought there was very little the immune system could do to combat brain tumors,” explained Akiko Iwasaki, lead author of the study, who serves as a professor of immunobiology and biology and cell development.
Jean-Leon Thomas, professor of neurology at Yale, also co-authored this research, made annotations on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-C), a gene that stimulates vessels lining the inside of the skull and also collects tissue waste, to be removed by the lymphatic system. Thomas' approach suggests whether VEGF-C could increase immune response if lymphatic drainage were increased.
“The team introduced VEGF C into the cerebrospinal fluid of mice with glioblastoma and observed an increased level of T cell response to tumors in the brain. When combined with immune system checkpoint inhibitors commonly used in immunotherapy, the VEGF-C treatment significantly extended survival of the mice. In other words, the introduction of VEGF-C, in conjunction with cancer immunotherapy drugs, was apparently sufficient to target brain tumors,” asi it reads in the Yale University press release about this breakthrough.
The purpose of the research is to make it known that it is possible to bring such treatments to patients with glioblastoma and provide an alternative to chemotherapy.