Arginine may reactivate T-cells in patients with glioblastoma

March 20, 2017

T-cells are critically dependent on arginine for activation and function. Therefore, it's not the increase in arginase per se that is responsible for blunting T-cell activity, but rather the resulting lack of arginine that suppresses the immune systems of glioblastoma patients, Waziri's group found.

Waziri and colleagues at the CU Cancer Center recently started a phase 0 clinical trial in newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients to explore whether a week-long, high-dose course of arginine before cancer surgery can allow an immune system that previously missed cancer cells to recognize and attack them. Waziri and his team will look at the effect of arginine on patients' immune systems as measured by T-cell function, immunological profile, and T-cell infiltration into resected tumor tissue.

"Our overall goal is to improve the efficacy of immunotherapy for glioblastoma," he says. "It's likely that this will require a two-stage approach, including stimulation of the immune system with something like a tumor vaccine while simultaneously targeting the suppressive effects of tumors on the immune system."

With positive results from this initial trial, Waziri hopes to further explore whether longer courses of arginine could help reduce the recurrence of glioblastoma and potentially offer a new strategy for patients with this otherwise incurable disease.

Source: University of Colorado Denver