G. Elizabeth Pluhar, DVM, PhD & Michael Graner, PhD
Funded by the 2019 Wine Celebration Fund a Need for Canine Comparative Oncology
Glioblastoma (GB), one of the most common tumors of the brain, has no known cure and human patients diagnosed with this awful disease survive an average of 14 months despite aggressive therapy. Our immune system is made to naturally attack foreign materials that invade our bodies, such as viruses, bacteria, or abnormal (tumor) cells. However, many tumor cells, including GB, have the developed the means that allows them to hide from the normal immune response so they can grow and spread inside our bodies. We discovered methods to expose these tumor cells to the normal immune response that then allows killing of tumor cells. We developed a small compound (peptide) that binds to tumor cells and makes them vulnerable to immune cells that can then kill them. In this project, we will devise a method to deposit that peptide into the normal brain tissue around the site of tumor removal that usually contains invasive tumor cells. Then other injections will be given that will stimulate immune cells to attack any remaining tumor cells. This new treatment will be used in pet dogs that naturally develop GB-like brain tumors but are rarely offered effective treatment. If this treatment is successful in dogs, similar treatment will be used in human GB patients.