Principal Investigator: Ian Pollack, MD, Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The prognosis for children with treatment-refactory low-grade gliomas is suboptimal, and new treatment approaches are needed that target the unique features of these tumors. During the last decade, we have gained significant preclinical and clinical experience with immunotherapy for adult gliomas, and propose to extend these insights to the treatment of childhood gliomas, based on our observation of substantial similarities between these tumors in their expression of glioma-associated antigens (GAAs).

Building upon these data, we propose the use of a GAA-based vaccine cocktail, combined with an immunoadjuvant (poly-ICLC), for children with progressive low-grade gliomas. We hypothesize that vaccine-based immunotherapy will not only prove safe for the treatment of pediatric gliomas, but will also demonstrate activity as assessed by clinical, radiologic, and immunologic parameters. These studies take advantage of unique institutional resources provided by our Immunological Monitoring and Cellular Products Laboratory, in part supported by our Brain Tumor Program, and integrated into the clinical trial design.

Our clinical study and biological correlative analyses will represent the first application of a multipeptide epitope vaccine-based strategy to a pediatric glioma cohort, providing fundamental data for assessing safety, and clinical and immunological efficacy, of immunotherapeutic strategies in the pediatric tumor context.