Assistant Professor
Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology

Project title: Dendritic Cell Vaccination for Newly Diagnosed Pediatric High-Grade Glioma Patients

Linda Liau, MD, PhD - UCLA
Robert Prins, PhD - UCLA

Multidisciplinary Expertise:
Pediatrics, Hematology-Oncology, Neuro-Oncology, Tumor Immunology, Translational Cancer Research, Immunotherapy, Clinical Trials.

Project Description:
Brain tumors in the pediatric population have poor prognosis and account for the highest mortality rate of all childhood cancers. High grade gliomas (HGG) remain the biggest challenge, with few treatment options and an overall 5-year survival rate of 10-30%. A potential alternative to conventional treatments is utilizing a patient’s own immune system to target and eliminate tumor cells. In this study, dendritic cells (DC) isolated from the subject's own blood will be co-cultured with tumor lysate. These stimulated DCs will then be injected back into the patient as a vaccine in order to teach the host immune system to “recognize” the malignant brain tumor cells as “foreign” to the body. We propose that this will help instruct the patient’s own immune system to attack any residual tumor cells. We hypothesize that DC vaccination for pediatric HGG patients will induce better outcomes than current standard therapies with chemotherapeutics and radiation alone.