Hypnotising brain tumour immune cells to help them fight with us and kill DIPG!

This project was selected in the framework of our fourth European call: FIGHT KIDS CANCER 2023. It is jointly financed by Imagine for Margo, Kriibskrank Kanner Fondatioun, CRIS Cancer Foundation, KiKa and KickCancer.

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Brain tumours are among the most common and deadly solid tumours in children, adolescents, and young adults. Despite improvements in treatments such as chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy, the outlook for patients with a high-risk tumour is poor. This is especially true for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas (or ‘DIPGs’) which are almost completely incurable.

Considerable progress has been made in survival of young patients with many types of paediatric cancer, thanks to the positive impact of immunotherapy on new treatment strategies.

Unfortunately, so far, chemo- and immune-therapies against DIPGs have been investigated without success, mainly because of the blood-brain barrier, which prevents an adequate drug delivery to the tumour located in the brain. Besides, macrophages and microglia (immune cells located in the tumour) shut off the immune system and prevent it from recognising and killing tumour cells, which enables the tumour to further its growth.

As immune cells can reach every part of the body, even distant ones, the use of immunotherapy for brain tumours offers an efficient solution to hunt down the most distant tumour cells. Immunotherapy could even thwart the impact of macrophages and microglia and make them work against the tumour cells by helping them to recognise the “foreign nature” of brain tumour cells.

This project will try to bring into the brain tumour therapeutic agents that reactivate these macrophages and microglia, using non-invasive ultrasound waves to open the blood-barrier.

By bringing in therapeutic agents that modify the infected immune cells, the immunosuppression in the tumour can be altered to our advantage. This means that the immune system can improve its ability to recognise and kill the cancer cells, not only locally, but also cells that have moved to different parts of the brain. If successful, this will lead to an increase of the survival rate and a better quality of life for children with brain tumour.

Hypnotising brain tumour immune cells to help them fight with us and kill DIPG!

  • Financed: €424 500
    More than 85% of your donations go to financing research and supporting our advocacy work, less than 15% go to administration.
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Countries: The Netherlands
  • Disease: Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas (DIPG)
  • Status: Ongoing

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