The SBTF is pleased to announce the funding of a Medical Student Summer Fellowship grant, in partnership with the ABTA, awarded to Eric Chalif, BA at the University of California, San Fransisco. His brain tumor research grant project will focus on viral therapies for GBMs. A Medical Student Summer Fellowship is a three month, mentor-guided summer research experience, intended to motivate talented medical students to pursue a career in neuro-oncology research.
His project, entitled “Replicating Retroviral Delivery of Immune Costimulatory Agents in Glioblastoma,” focuses on:
Eric Chalif, BAGlioblastoma (GBM) is the most aggressive primary brain cancer, and despite a standard of care for patients that includes maximal safe resection followed by chemotherapy and radiation, the prognosis is still grim. Unfortunately, new classes of medications such as immune checkpoint inhibitors that have revolutionized treatment for cancer outside of the Central Nervous System have so far been unsuccessful in clinical trials for GBM.
However, drugs that activate the immune system by other means remain particularly promising candidates for the treatment of GBM due to its marked local and systemic immunosuppression. These mechanisms of immunosuppression are diverse and often redundant, which makes targeting any one agent insufficient to completely overcome the suppressive state. It is likely that combinatorial immunotherapy will be necessary in the development of successful regimens. Costimulatory molecules such as GITRL, OX0-40L,and 4-1BBL may be key agents in future therapeutic cocktails. Targeting these molecules’ receptors have already shown promise in clinical trials for a variety of solid cancers and in preclinical models of glioblastoma.
In this study, we will develop four new viral therapies, validate their function, and test their utility in a mouse model of GBM. Our findings will enable future studies in targeted immunotherapy, and they signify an exciting step towards the future development and refinement of new therapeutic approaches in human clinical testing.
You can learn more about our brain tumor research grant and the Foundation’s impact on brain tumor research on our site.