By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The University of Minnesota on Thursday announced that a promising new brain cancer clinical trial is underway.

It’s Phase I of the first-in-human trial, and university physicians and scientists are enrolling patients with glioblastoma, which is a specific type of brain cancer.

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Dr. Michael Olinof the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Division of Hermatology was one of the researchers that developed the innovative treatment.

“Our research found that the CD200 protein was acting as a protective shield inside a person’s brain tumor, effectively preventing the immune system or immune-directed therapy from attacking the tumor,” said Dr. Olin. “The CD200 checkpoint inhibitor that we developed, along with a proven vaccine, has shown amazing results in our tests and has the potential to have fewer adverse effects for patients.”

Now, a single-site study is open at M Health Fairview University Medical Center. It’s led by neuro-oncologist Elizabeth Neil, MD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

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“As a neuro-oncologist who has dedicated my professional career to advancing therapeutic options for brain cancer patients, this combination treatment regimen could mark a landmark breakthrough in the field and be a real game-changer,” Neil said.

According to Neil, about 12,000 Americans every year are diagnosed with glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer that currently has no cure.

“argeting CD200 could be the missing link in allowing the patient’s own vaccine-strengthened immune system to commence an all-out, unrestrained attack on the cancer cells. For too long has glioblastoma evaded our most innovative treatment attempts. Now I believe we have the upper hand, and I am thrilled to offer this as a treatment option through our carefully developed Phase I clinical trial,” Neil said.

The researchers say they started with brain tumors, but plan to expand the therapy platform to melanoma, lung cancer, and other difficult-to-treat malignancies.

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