Study suggests PD-1 inhibitors against aggressive pediatric brain cancer subtype
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IMAGE: Andrea Griesinger, MS, and colleagues suggest supratentorial pediatric ependymoma may be susceptible to PD-1 inhibitors. view more 

Credit: University of Colorado Cancer Center

One type of immunotherapy removes a genetic blindfold that cancer uses to hide from the immune system. These “PD-1 inhibitors”, including drugs like pembrolizumab, nivolumab and atezolizumab, have proven useful and have even in some cases revolutionized the treatment of common adult cancers ranging from melanoma, to lung cancer, to kidney cancer and more. Now PD-1 inhibitors are entering clinical trials to treat childhood cancers. A University of Colorado Cancer Center study published in the journal Pediatric Blood Cancers lays the scientific groundwork for the use of PD-1 inhibitors with an aggressive form of brain cancer, namely supratentorial pediatric ependymoma.

“This is a tumor with poor prognosis. Overall, pediatric cancers have a nearly 90 percent survival rate. But only 60 percent of patients with the most common form of supratentorial ependymoma will be alive five years after diagnosis,” says study senior author, Andrea Griesinger, MS, senior professional research assistant in the lab of Nick Foreman, MD, CU Cancer Center investigator and Seebaum/Tschetter Chair of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

The tumor, which occurs in

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