RNA-nanoparticle vaccines for pediatric high-grade glioma

Dr. Elias Sayour – University of Florida Elias Sayour, MD, PhD

CureSearch Catapult Award: 2020-2022 

Focus: High-grade glioma  

Project Title: RNA-nanoparticle vaccines for pediatric high-grade glioma 

Project Overview: Primary high-grade gliomas (pHGGs) in children are almost uniformly lethal. While there is promise for immunotherapy, gliomas are overwhelmingly immunosuppressive, posing an access and activity challenge for the immune activation required for immunotherapy. Dr. Sayour and colleagues have developed a novel treatment platform which leverages the use of nanoparticles (NPs) combined with messenger RNA (mRNA) taken from the patient’s tumor to make a product that functions as both a vaccine and an agent that is capable of increasing activity of the immune system. To facilitate translation of this promising technology into first-in-human studies for pHGG, Dr. Sayour and colleagues have partnered with the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC), where their clinical trial concept was accepted for multi-institutional trial development.  

Project Update: 
Dr. Elias Sayour’s group has developed a novel treatment platform, which leverages the use of clinically translatable nanoparticles (NPs) combined with tumor derived mRNA. These nanoparticles simultaneously function as both a vaccine and an immunomodulating agent thereby sensitizing pHGG for response to immunotherapy.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic The University of Florida implemented a hold on capital equipment purchases and onboarding of new personnel for several months. The moment they were able, Dr. Sayour and colleagues onboarded all necessary personnel, purchased equipment necessary for cGMP manufacturing, calibrated their instruments and submitted their protocols for IBC/IRB approval. There is one step remaining until the trial can be initiated.
Dr. Sayour expects this trial to initiate in March of 2021.

Read more about Dr. Sayour's project here.

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