Immunotherapy is a promising treatment for many types of malignant tumors, including those that develop in the brain and nervous system. These tumors are traditionally treated using surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and immunotherapy offers an additional approach to targeting and destroying cancer cells. While many immunotherapy treatments are still undergoing clinical trials, there has been marked progress in recent years with Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved Dinutuximab use to treat high-risk pediatric neuroblastoma.
Immunotherapy options for brain tumors
The immune system’s main function is to fight disease, but a brain tumor can weaken its ability to do so. Traditional treatment options like chemotherapy can also compromise the immune system. Immunotherapy helps to boost the immune system’s natural defenses to equip it to recognize and attack cancer cells, offering a promising new approach for treating brain tumors. This treatment should be used in combination with traditional approaches, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Immunotherapy at Moffitt
Because there are more than 120 types of tumors that can develop in the brain and nervous system, treatment plans are highly individualized from patient to patient. Moffitt’s Neuro-Oncology Program is comprised of physicians in all areas of specialty who take a tailored approach to each patient’s treatment. Each patient’s case is carefully reviewed by our physicians who then collaborate to develop an individualized treatment protocol.
At Moffitt, we stand at the forefront of brain tumor research and offer a variety of innovative treatments to our patients, including immunotherapy and progressive neurosurgical procedures. Moffitt also has one of the largest clinical trial programs for cancer in the nation to offer our patients access to some of the most advanced therapies before they are made widely available.
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Michael Vogelbaum, Program Leader, Department of Neuro-Oncology.