Funded Research

A Pilot Study of a Personalized Vaccine Approach in Patients with Recurrent Pediatric Brain Tumors
Principal Investigator(s):
  • Karen Gauvain, M.D. Pediatrics
  • Gavin Dunn, M.D., Ph.D. Neurosurgery
  • McDonnell Pediatric Cancer Center
Award Mechanism:
Interdisciplinary Research Initiative
Project Period:
2/1/2017 - 1/31/2020
Total Amount:

Brief background of the proposal and its relevance to the CDI’s objectives

Recurring pediatric brain tumors are associated with a very poor outcome. There is no cure for patients with relapsed cancerous brain tumors, and most children will not live more than two to three years. For many patients with recurrent brain tumors, there are few to no treatment options available. Thus, new treatments are desperately needed. Washington University School of Medicine is emerging as a world leader in developing personalized vaccines to fight against cancers. This project proposes the first-ever clinical trial to treat pediatric patients with relapsed or recurrent brain tumors with a personalized vaccine, referred to as a peptide vaccine, developed by targeting genetic abnormalities in each individual tumor.

Proposed specific aims

·         Determine how safe, tolerable, and feasible it is to treat pediatric patients with recurrent

brain tumors with a personalized peptide vaccine.

·         Characterize how well the vaccine works by studying the immune system response in patients.

Potential impact on child health

This is the first study to evaluate how recurring pediatric brain tumors respond to personalized vaccines, which could have an enormous impact by improving clinical outcomes.