Understanding Glioblastoma Immunology

Glioblastomas suppress immune responses both locally within the tumor and systemically throughout the body. The Neurosurgical Oncology Laboratory research team seeks to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying this immune suppression. Dr. Parney's team is testing the general hypothesis that a tightly regulated cellular network made up of glioblastoma cells, glioblastoma-infiltrating monocytes, circulating myeloid-derived suppressor cells and regulatory T cells underlies glioblastoma-mediated immunosuppression. The roles of immunosuppressive factors expressed by many of these cells (B7-H1, TGF-ß, PGE2, IL-10) are being investigated.

Model systems include in vitro interactions between cultured human glioblastoma cells (including glioma stem cells) and human leukocytes, as well as humanized SCID-NOD mouse models reconstituted with human hematopoietic stem cells and bearing human glioblastoma stem cell xenografts. As much as possible, experiments are carried out with tumor cells and leukocytes obtained from people undergoing glioblastoma surgery at Mayo Clinic, highlighting the translational nature of these studies.