Getting the immune system involved

6 min read


Mechanical Nanosurgery: How Precision Magnetics Is Tackling Aggressive Brain Tumours In a study published in the Journal of Science Advances, researchers have presented a new approach to treat chemoresistant glioblastomas using magnetic carbon nanotubes (mCNTs) which target and destroy cells in a process they call mechanical nanosurgery. mCNTs are a form of nanomaterial - microscopic carbon tubes filled with iron which, when injected into tumours, seek out tumour cells and are absorbed by them. A rotating magnetic field is then turned on causing the mCNTs to move, damaging internal cell structures and causing tumour cell death. Using mouse models of GBM with upfront or therapy-induced resistance to temozolomide, the researchers showed that mCNT treatment is effective in treating chemoresistant GBM.

Study Identifies Enzyme that Helps Tumours Evade the Immune System Scientists have identified an enzyme which aids tumours in evading the immune system. The study published in Nature Communications, found a kinase (enzyme) produced by the gene Chek2, helps glioma tumour cells evade CD8 T-cells in mice by making the T-cells (type of white blood cell) unable to recognise and attack tumour cells. Researchers found that mice with gliomas lacking the Chek2 kinase had higher rates of response to immunotherapy compared to mice with the kinase, potentially meaning that Chek2 modulation may enhance other forms of immunotherapies.

Drug form of traditional Chinese medicine compound improved survival of mice with brain tumours A new study shows how a drug made from a natural compound used in traditional Chinese medicine works against malignant brain tumours in mice, creating a promising avenue of research for glioblastoma (GBM) treatment. In the study, published in Cell Reports Medicine, researchers showed how a formulation of the compound, called indirubin, improved the survival of mice with malignant brain tumours by influencing GBM immunosuppressive properties and increasing T-cell infiltration of the tumour. The researchers stated that the drug impacted the immune system in these mouse experiments in a way that could enhance clinical immunotherapy in humans.


Study shows effectiveness, safety of stereotactic radiosurgery for NF2-related vestibular schwannomas Vestibular schwannomas (also referred to as acoustic neuromas) related to neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) are difficult to manage and are sometimes treated with a non-invasive option, stereotactic radiosurgery. A retrospective study conducted by an international, multicentre team found that stereotactic radiosurgery is effective for patients with these tumours while preserving serviceable hearing and not causing radiation-related tumour development or malignant transformation. The researchers reported multiple positive outcomes: Tumour control likelihood of 77% at 10 years and 52% at 15 years. Likelihood of not requiring additional treatment of 85% at 10 years and 75% at 15 years and likelihood of preserving serviceable hearing of 64% at five years and 35% at 10 years.


CRUK–ARR Radiation Research Conference 2023 The CRUK–ARR Radiation Research Conference will be taking place 4-6 June in Glasgow. It is a new initiative which will be a stimulating environment for scientists from the CRUK RadNet network and wider international radiation research community to come together to showcase new discoveries, spark new collaborations, and create the synergy needed to accelerate progress for patients. More information, including programme, speakers and registration can be found here. Early bird tickets are available until Friday 5th May.

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