An international scientific panel has declared a brain cancer immunotherapy study carried out at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute the most outstanding original research of the year.
Judges of the prestigious Chris and Bhama Parish ICB Publication of the Year Award named Dr Tania Crough’s paper overall winner, based on scientific excellence.
Dr Crough, from Professor Rajiv Khanna’s Tumour Immunology laboratory, was lead author on the paper published in Immunology and Cell Biology (a Nature publication group journal) in October last year.
QIMR Berghofer director, Professor Frank Gannon, congratulated the group.
“This prestigious award is just the latest proof of the quality of research underway at QIMR Berghofer,” Professor Gannon said.
“This should be reassuring news to all Australians, and, in particular, those touched by this difficult cancer. There is world-quality research happening in your backyard.”
Professor Khanna’s group has been researching the role the common human herpes virus, Cytomegalovirus (CMV) plays in highly lethal brain tumours, known as glioblastoma multiforme.
This publication dealt with the development of a new immunotherapy strategy, which harnesses a patient’s own immune system to attack CMV infection in their tumour.
Immunotherapy is regarded as the new frontier for treatment of virus-associated cancers.
“QIMR Berghofer is currently collaborating with Dr David Walker at the Newro Foundation at Brisbane’s Wesley Hospital to test this novel immunotherapy in patients with glioblastoma multiforme,” Dr Crough said.
“Our preliminary data showed for the first time that CMV killer T cell therapy can be successfully manufactured from glioblastoma multiforme patients and these killer T cells can be safely used for adoptive immunotherapy.”
The winning paper: “Ex vivo functional analysis, expansion and adoptive transfer of cytomegalovirus-specific T-cells in patients with glioblastoma multiforme” can be viewed at http://www.nature.com/icb/journal/v90/n9/pdf/icb201219a.pdf