Dr. John Kelly; Neurosurgeon and Assistant Professor, Clinical Neurosciences, University of Calgary
Project Title: “Combinatorial treatment of glioblastoma initiating cells with microglial cytokines and STAT3 inhibition”
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and most aggressive primary brain tumour, and it harbours a dismal prognosis. GBMs have been shown to contain brain tumour initiating cells (BTICs), a subpopulation of tumour cells with the capacity to proliferate and generate the other cells within a tumour. BTICs are powerful mediators of immunosuppression through regulation of immune cell responses and they are highly resistant to treatment leading inevitably to tumour recurrence. We seek to reduce the immunosuppressive abilities of GBM BTICs while simultaneously targeting them with growth inhibitory microglial cytokines.
We hope to demonstrate efficacy of this approach and begin to understand the mechanisms by which these strategies impact GBM BTICs. This work will form the basis for further preclinical studies that attempt to sway the tumour-immune interactions in favour of microglia in order to suppress GBMs.
This project may help develop a novel combinatorial therapeutic approach whereby BTIC driven immunosuppression is inhibited and compromised innate immunity is simultaneously reactivated in order to improve the prognosis for patients with GBM.