Dr. Hiro Wakimoto, Tawingo Endowed Scholar in Neurosurgery

Meningioma Mommas has awarded Harvard researcher, Dr. Hiro Wakimoto a $5,000 grant to advance his team’s photodynamic therapy research.

Dr. Wakimoto shares the following encouraging updates:

“We have been particularly interested in the potential power of an engineered virus–to be specific, genetically engineered herpes simplex virus–to act as an agent able to kill cancer cells selectively, without harming normal cells. To further enhance this activity, we tested combining a cancer drug Panobinostat and the virus, and showed a dramatic shrinkage of malignant meningioma tumors generated in mice. This is a very encouraging outcome that can be used to advance to clinical trial testing.

Another very exciting approach that uses the virus is to harness its ability to activate the immune system to eliminate cancer cells. We have inserted a gene into the virus that encodes a special protein that gets stimulated upon receiving amber light, and generated a novel light reactive virus. Treatment of meningioma with this virus followed by amber laser illumination was very effective at destroying meningioma tumors in mice. We speculate that activation of anti-meningioma immune responses is behind this treatment effects, and have begun analysis. Laboratory research often takes effort and time, but we strongly feel it is our mission to tirelessly work in the lab to bring hopeful treatments to patients with meningioma.

We are truly grateful for the continued generous support from Meningioma Mommas, and would like to thank all the members for their generosity.”