Brain Barriers Breached to Attack Tumors

The brain has barriers to protect itself from bacteria and other pathogens but if infections and diseases get past those barriers then the immune system is also kept out.

Yale researchers have found a way to get immune system rescuers through the brain’s protective drainage system.

Tiny vessels are form shortly after birth, spurred in part by the gene known as vascular endothelial growth factor C, or VEGF-C.

VEGF-C was specifically bused to increase the immune system’s surveillance of glioblastoma tumors. Introducing VEGF-C through this drainage system would specifically target brain tumors.

VEGF C was placed into the cerebrospinal fluid of mice with glioblastoma and observed an increased level of T cell response to tumors in the brain. When combined with immune system checkpoint inhibitors commonly used in immunotherapy, the VEGF-C treatment significantly extended survival of the mice. In other words, the introduction of VEGF-C, in conjunction with cancer immunotherapy drugs, was apparently sufficient to target brain tumors.