Cancer immunologist receives grant to research brain tumor treatments

Robert M. Prins, PhD

Robert Prins, professor of neurosurgery and molecular and medical pharmacology in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, has been awarded a $750,000 grant to support his research in developing immunotherapies for brain tumors.

The grant was sponsored by the Brain Tumor Funders’ Collaborative, which is a partnership between six private philanthropic and advocacy organizations dedicated to accelerating progress in brain tumor research by supporting research and collaborations.

While there have been many advancements in cancer treatments in the past 20 years, there has been limited treatment developments for people with malignant gliomas, an aggressive and fast-growing type of brain tumor.

Prins, an immunologist in the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and member researcher with the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Center at UCLA, and members of the UCLA Brain Tumor Center are finding new ways to treat this deadly brain tumor by studying immune-based therapies.

Researchers are studying a new combination therapy using checkpoint blockade in conjunction with a personalized dendritic cell vaccine, which was developed at UCLA, for people diagnosed with glioblastoma, a type of tumor that had previously been thought to be shielded from the immune system. Prins and his team hope by combining the two treatments they will be able to create a new way to treat people with brain cancer, as well as develop new ways to track the immune response.