Chordoma Foundation

Immunotherapy Initiative

Harnessing the immune system to fight chordoma

Extraordinary advances are being made in the development of therapies that harness the immune system to fight cancer. Several of these therapies are already in use and have revolutionized care for certain tumor types, while more than 3,000 more are in development, many of which are showing promising signs of benefit to patients. The goal of our Immunotherapy Initiative is to ensure that chordoma patients everywhere benefit from these powerful new treatment approaches as quickly as possible.


We are working to bring about effective immunotherapies for chordoma by strategically initiating and funding projects across the full research and development continuum – from basic science to clinical research.

The ultimate goal of this research is to identify or develop therapies that:

  • Direct an immune response against chordoma tumors
  • Make chordoma tumors more susceptible to immune attack

Most likely, these two types of therapies will need to be used in combination with one another.



Currently, our investments are focused on three priorities:

Number 1

Chordoma-immune interaction

Uncover how chordomas avoid destruction by the immune system to identify opportunities to utilize therapies designed to make cancer cells more susceptible to immune attack.

Number 2

Immune target discovery

Discover unique features of chordoma against which existing immunotherapies could be directed, or new immunotherapies could be developed.

Number 3

Early drug discovery

Apply the most promising immunotherapy technologies to create new drugs designed to attack chordoma.

Future investments will include preclinical and clinical evaluation of novel immunotherapies tailored to chordoma.

In the meantime, as more is learned about the chordoma-immune interaction and potential targets are identified, these insights could point to opportunities to rapidly apply existing immunotherapies through our concurrent Drug Repurposing Initiative.


Cancer Research Institute

We are proud to partner with the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) – the world’s premier supporter of cancer immunotherapy research – to co-fund chordoma-focused grants through CRI’s Clinic & Laboratory Integration Program (CLIP).



Principal Investigator(s)


Immune checkpoint evaluation Michael Lim, MD – Johns Hopkins Complete
Making chordomas more susceptible to immune checkpoint inhibitors Stephen Yip, MD, PhD – University of British Columbia Ongoing
Endogenous T Cell Therapy Cassien Yee, MD – MD Anderson Ongoing
Multispectral immunofluorescence of chordoma Nyall London, MD, PhD – Johns Hopkins Ongoing
Molecular correlates of response to nivolumab Michael Lim, MD – Stanford Planned


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