UF brain cancer researcher awarded St. Baldrick’s Foundation grant

By Todd Taylor

University of Florida brain cancer researcher Lan Hoang-Minh, Ph.D., has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation for a preclinical research project seeking to advance adoptive T-cell therapy for pediatric brain tumors.

Lan Hoang Minh
Dr. Lan Hoang-Minh

Using a technique that will “label” T cells with nanoparticles optimized in the lab of Carlos Rinaldi-Ramos, Ph.D., chair of the department of chemical engineering, Hoang-Minh will evaluate the efficacy of differing routes of delivery of adoptive T cell therapy in a mouse model of high-risk pediatric brain tumor under the mentorship of Duane Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of the Preston A. Wells Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy.

Adoptive T cell therapy is a form of immunotherapy, a treatment that harnesses the power of a person’s own immune system to fight cancer.

“Despite aggressive and highly toxic therapies including surgery, radiation and high-dose chemotherapy, almost half of the pediatric patients diagnosed with the most common malignant brain tumors, such as high-grade glioma and medulloblastoma, will succumb from recurrent disease,” Hoang-Minh said. “The development of more effective, tumor-specific therapies that will not add further toxicity to existing treatments is crucial in improving clinical outcomes for pediatric patients affected by those aggressive cancers.”