Dr. Hiro Wakimoto Tawingo Endowed Scholar in Neurosurgery

Meningioma Mommas has awarded a second grant for $10,000 to Harvard researchers, Dr. Hiroaki Wakimoto and Dr. Robert Martuza for their project, “How to Best Activate Anti-tumor Immune Cells Triggered by Oncolytic Herpes Simplex Viruses (oHSVs) to Attack and Destroy High Grade Meningiomas”.  This is phase one of their project and Meningioma Mommas is diligently working to raise the additional $17,000 needed to fund phase two.

To make a donation, https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/meningioma-mommas-funding-for-a-cure

This award honors National Brain Tumor Awareness Month.

“Meningioma is the most frequent tumor type in the central nervous system, with an estimated incidence of 7.86 cases per 100,000 people annually. Although generally regarded as a benign tumor curable with surgical resection, a substantive fraction of meningiomas are not benign. These high-grade meningiomas (HGM), approximately 20%, tend to relapse after surgery and radiotherapy, resulting in morbidity and mortality due to lack of effective treatment. Numerous clinical trials testing molecular targeted agents have failed. Effective treatment modalities for HGM are thus solely needed. However, meningioma has been understudied and meningioma research has been underfunded.

We consider that oncolytic virus therapy has a potential to change the therapeutic paradigm for HGM.  Using mouse models of HGM, we have shown that injections of genetically modified oncolytic herpes simplex viruses (oHSVs) directly into meningioma result in potent anti-tumor activity via direct killing of meningioma cells, while keeping surrounding normal cells unharmed. This cancer cell selectivity is achieved by the ability of the genetically engineered virus to differentiate cancer cells versus normal cells and amplify and spread within the tumor. Local virus therapy is considered particularly suited for the treatment of HGM as unlike other cancers like gliomas, meningioma cells are not extensively dispersed or metastasized and tend to be confined locally even at relapses.”

We propose to address the important question: how to best activate anti-tumor immune cells triggered by oHSV to attack and destroy HGM. ”


“We understand the dire need to develop effective treatments for patients with HGM, and consider preclinical assessment of potentially efficacious modalities vital and urgent. We have the expertise and resources to perform the studies outlined above and are capable of delivery of research results in a timely manner.  We are poised to rapidly translate the results of the proposed animal experiments rapidly into the clinic to help patients with HGM.”


Dr. Hiroaki Wakimoto and Dr. Robert Martuza are dedicating their project in memory of Debbie Arnold Burnett who lost her 21-year battle with meningiomas on June 22, 2020. Debbie was passionate about Meningioma Mommas and had a natural gift for providing support. She battled without a single complaint. Through it all, she enjoyed millions of moments with the ones she loved in Newbury, Chagrin Falls, Mexico, and beyond.