NIGERIAN-born medical doctor Chibawanye Ene has won the 2019 Ronald L Bittner Award on Brain Tumour Research at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) Annual Scientific Meeting.
Dr Ene, 37, who is from Akpugo in Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State, received the honour at AANS’s latest convention which held in San Diego in California. he was honoured for his research work on Anti-PD-L1 Immunotherapy Enhances Radiation-induced Abscopal Response in Glioblastoma.
Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that helps the immune system fight cancer. According to the Clinical Department of Applied Radiation Oncology, the immune system made up of white blood cells, organs and tissues of the lymph system helps the body fight infections and other diseases.
It stated that Immunotherapy is a type of biological therapy. Glioblastoma, known as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), is the most aggressive cancer that begins within the brain and Dr Ene’s research has helped highlight treatment in this area.
Initially, signs and symptoms of glioblastoma are non-specific and may include headaches, personality changes, nausea, and symptoms similar to those of a stroke. Immunotherapy for glioblastoma has been largely unsuccessful in part because molecular heterogeneity drives selective elimination of only a subset of tumour cells.
It appears that therapeutic success in patients would require achieving an abscopal effect, where following focused radiation therapy, non-targeted tumour cells are attacked by the immune system. For now, however, it remains unclear how glioblastoma responds to focused radiation in terms of failure location and whether immunotherapy could amplify the immune response to tumour outside the radiation field.
However, the result of Dr Ene’s study’s experiment shows that radiation combined with anti PD L1 therapy induces an immunological response to unirradiated glioblastoma. Researchers are currently optimising other treatment combinations that could also be readily assessed in phase one human clinical trials.