Cellular immunotherapies that specifically target malignant tumors are thought to be a promising approach in cancer medicine. However, a basic requirement for this kind of targeted immunotherapy is to identify target molecules that are found exclusively on the tumor cells and are recognized by the immune system.
Malignant gliomas are incurable brain tumors that spread in the brain and cannot be completely removed by surgery. "Gliomas are very difficult to treat, and the lack of suitable target structures is a considerable challenge for developing immunotherapies," explained Lukas Bunse, an immunologist at the DKFZ and a doctor at the University Hospital Mannheim (UMM).
Using an experimental mouse model, Lucas Bunse and his team have now demonstrated for the first time that transgenic T cells targeting tumor neoepitopes can be used to treat gliomas.