The future of cancer immunotherapy for brain tumors: a collaborative workshop

J Transl Med. 2022 May 23;20(1):236. doi: 10.1186/s12967-022-03438-z.


Harnessing the effector mechanisms of the immune system to combat brain tumors with antigen specificity and memory has been in research and clinical testing for many years. Government grant mechanisms and non-profit organizations have supported many innovative projects and trials while biotech companies have invested in the development of needed tools, assays and novel clinical approaches. The National Brain Tumor Society and the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy partnered to host a workshop to share recent data, ideas and identify both hurdles and new opportunities for harnessing immunotherapy against pediatric and adult brain tumors. Adoptively transferred cell therapies have recently shown promising early clinical results. Local cell delivery to the brain, new antigen targets and innovative engineering approaches are poised for testing in a new generation of clinical trials. Although several such advances have been made, several obstacles remain for the successful application of immunotherapies for brain tumors, including the need for more representative animal models that can better foreshadow human trial outcomes. Tumor and tumor microenvironment biopsies with multiomic analysis are critical to understand mechanisms of response and patient stratification, yet brain tumors are especially challenging for such biopsy collection. These workshop proceedings and commentary shed light on the status of immunotherapy in pediatric and adult brain tumor patients, including current research as well as opportunities for improving future efforts to bring immunotherapy to the forefront in the management of brain tumors.

Keywords: Brain tumors; Cell therapy; Immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Congress
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Brain Neoplasms* / immunology
  • Brain Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use
  • Immunotherapy* / methods
  • Tumor Microenvironment


  • Immunologic Factors