The Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Research Laboratory at Rhode Island Hospital is dedicated to researching brain tumor immunotherapy, which means harnessing the body’s own immune defenses to fight brain tumors. Under the scientific leadership of Dr. Sengupta and clinical direction of Dr Sampath, the laboratory is pioneering the collaboration between scientists and clinicians to help innovative therapeutic approaches get translated from research into clinical use.
Soon, the laboratory will be a prime research center in clinical studies for a patented biologic therapy for which an Investigational Drug application has been submitted to FDA. This new therapy is for patients with a type of malignant brain tumor called glioblastoma, and involves engineering the patient’s own t-cells to fight the tumor along with chemotherapy. This type of immunotherapy is typically administered as long as 6 months after chemotherapy, during which the tumor can change and become more aggressive. The treatment we are developing can be used with chemotherapy, shortening the wait and improving the chance of survival.
The laboratory is also conducting research into taking a similar approach to another type of brain tumor called meningioma and other metastatic tumors that can cause cancer to spread to other parts of the body. Other projects include identifying new antigens (antibodies produced in the body when a tumor is present) for glioblastoma. High-tech analysis of this data, which is different in each patient, will help us develop personalized therapy for patients with this type of tumor. Ultimately, our aim is to develop personalized vaccines for each patient with glioblastoma, and using information from their own tumors to fight their cancer.
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