Improving brain tumor outcomes with immunotherapy

Laura Falceto-Font

Graduate Student, Biomedical Sciences Program-Cancer Biology Concentration

Abstract: Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are cells that can be used in medical treatments to help people with different diseases, including cancer. These cells have the ability to become blood and immune cells. Our research group has previously discovered that combining these stem cells with immunotherapy, which utilizes the body’s immune cells as a treatment, can improve the chances of survival for patients with brain tumors, a type of cancer with poor outcomes. We are currently investigating whether we can modify these stem cells in a way that makes them more effective against brain tumors when combined with immunotherapy. Our hypothesis is that by changing genes in the stem cells, we can make them better at fighting brain tumors. We tested different methods to modify these cells and found some promising results, such as being able to produce more tumor-fighting immune cells. These modified cells could be used along with other treatments to improve the chances of beating cancer.

Laura Falceto-Font is a PhD student in the Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Program at UF under the mentorship of Dr. Catherine Flores. Her research focuses on developing different methods to improve immunotherapies for malignant brain tumors.

Core Standards

SC.912.N.1.4 Identify sources of information and assess their reliability according to the strict standards of scientific investigation.

SC.912.N.1.6 Describe how scientific inferences are drawn from scientific observations and provide examples from the content being studied..

SC.912.N.2.5 Describe instances in which scientists’ varied backgrounds, talents, interests, and goals influence the inferences and thus the explanations that they make about observations of natural phenomena and describe that competing interpretations (explanations) of scientists are a strength of science as they are a source of new, testable ideas that have the potential to add new evidence to support one or another of the explanations.

SC.912.L.14.27 Identify the functions of the major parts of the brain, including the meninges, medulla, pons, midbrain, hypothalamus, thalamus, cerebellum and cerebrum.


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