Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC’s Brain Care Institute Receives Prestigious Award for First-of-its-kind Study of Peptide Vaccine

June 19, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - June 19, 2012 - The Congress of Neurological Surgeons has announced that Ian F. Pollack, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.A.A.P., chief, Pediatric Neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC’s Brain Care Institute and co-director of University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) Brain Tumor Program will receive the National Brain Tumor Society's Mahaley Clinical Research Award for his paper, “Peptide Vaccine Therapy for Childhood Gliomas: Interim Results of a Pilot Study.”

The award will be presented at the 2012 Congress of Neurological Surgeons annual meeting in Chicago, Oct. 6 to 10.

The first-of-its-kind study demonstrated that peptide vaccines in children with gliomas, the most common type of brain tumor, not only were well-tolerated but also showed evidence of immunological responses. Preliminary results of the study were presented at the 2012 American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting.

“With so many medically outstanding studies published this year in neuro-oncology, I am grateful and honored our research was selected for recognition by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons,” said Dr. Pollack, the Walter Dandy Professor of Neurological Surgery and vice chairman for academic affairs in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “This was the first study of its type that examined peptide vaccine therapy for children with brain tumors like this, and the fact that we are now seeing tumor shrinkage is extremely encouraging in moving forward with this therapy.”

Pollack and his colleagues enrolled 32 children with gliomas, including 18 with newly diagnosed brainstem gliomas, five with newly diagnosed cerebral high-grade gliomas and nine with recurrent gliomas. Each child received serial doses of a peptide vaccine, which was designed to stimulate an immune response to a protein fragment present on their tumor cells. They are now hoping to advance this to a multicenter study within the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium.

The Mahaley Clinical Research Award is given at each of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons meetings to a neurosurgery resident, fellow, or attending who has submitted the top clinical study in neuro-oncology.

The Congress of Neurological Surgeons, a leader in education and innovation, is dedicated to advancing neurosurgery by providing members with the educational and career development opportunities they need to become leaders and innovators in the field.

For more information about Dr. Pollack, visit

Andrea Kunicky, 412-692-6254,
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