Research Group

Immunotherapy

Our focus is to coordinate an international team of expert scientists in the study of the immunological environment of pediatric central nervous system (CNS) tumors so that we may translate this knowledge into next-generation immunotherapy clinical trials that can improve the lives of affected children and young adults.

Our goals include:

  • Characterize the immunological landscape and identifying biomarkers, both for the tumor (and its environment) as for the other body compartments in patients with a CNS malignancy
  • Set-up a cellular therapy network within PNOC
  • Advisory/review for immunotherapeutic trials
  • Forum for pre-clinical discussion and optimization

The PNOC Immunotherapy team is made up of an international core set of researchers and institutions that are leaders in both pediatric immunotherapy and pediatric neuro-oncology. Leveraging experience in preclinical pediatric CNS model systems, preclinical immunotherapeutic testing, translational clinical trial development and implementation, and correlative immunotherapy studies such as serum and CSF biomarkers, our team aims to advance immunotherapy treatment options for children with CNS tumors.

Our core immunotherapy team meets monthly to inventory the most urgent themes within the field of immunology for CNS tumors, and to discuss ongoing initiatives. Every 4 months, our team hosts an meeting open to all PNOC investigators to share our initiatives and get input from the other working groups.

The coming year we will focus on developing a protocol for in depth immune monitoring. This will emphasize a set of analyses, including,  but not limited to (sn) RNA-sequencing, flow cytometry and  cytokine profiling for the different body compartments. The aim is to establish an infrastructure within PNOC were we can utilize the strength of the individual institutes and explore grant possibilities and common workflow optimization.

Another important step will be the development of a PNOC cellular therapy network. This may speed up future subject  accrual within such trials and harmonize CAR T (amongst others) production within the different institutes who have the capacity to produce such compounds GMP-grade.

Featured Researchers

Nicholas Vitanza, MD

Co-Principal Investigator

Jasper van der Lugt

Principal Investigator, Pediatric Oncologist

Jessica Foster, MD

Pediatric Neuro-oncologist

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