UF brain researcher receives grant for glioblastoma study

A University of Florida researcher has received a two-year $419,375 grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to study how to advance immunotherapy approaches to treat glioblastoma, the most aggressive malignant brain tumor in humans. 

Matthew Sarkisian, Ph.D.

Matthew Sarkisian, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of neuroscience in the UF College of Medicine, will lead the new project exploring how tumor cells avoid targeting from the immune system. The study will examine how organelles called primary cilia affect tumor cell development in mouse and patient cells. 

The presence of cilia is predictive of more aggressive and treatment-resistant glioblastoma. The team will study how glioblastoma cilia affect the ways immune cells infiltrate and function within tumors and determine which immune cell types contact or avoid ciliated tumor cells in human glioblastoma.  

The project aims to enhance understanding of a new cell-cell interaction in the brain tumor microenvironment, which may help explain how glioblastoma cells prevent immune cells from removing cancer cells and ultimately improve immunotherapy treatment. 

Sarkisian, a member of the UF Health Cancer Center’s Cancer Therapeutics & Host Response research program, is collaborating on the new project with two other UF College of Medicine researchers who are also members of the UF Heath Cancer Center: Loic Deleyrolle, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of neurosurgery, and Jeffrey Harrison, Ph.D., a professor in the department of pharmacology and therapeutics.

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