Brain Tumor Research Program Officers
Raymond Sawaya, M.D.
W.K. Alfred Yung, M.D.
Director of Basic Research
Juan Fueyo, M.D.
Associate Director of Basic Research
Suyun Huang, M.D., Ph.D
Bioinformatics and Computational Biology applies statistics and computer science to the field of molecular biology. Advances in genetic mapping and other molecular research have produced a tremendous amount of data related to molecular biology. Bioinformatics uses computational and statistical techniques and theory to manage and analyze biological data.
Biostatistics provides statistical expertise so that the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data from laboratory experiments, clinical trials or other clinical studies yields accurate and valid information.
Cancer Biology includes studies on the tumor microenvironment, what governs growth and suppression of growth, cell division and cell death, tumor invasion and metastasis, in order to target abnormal signals for therapy.
Carcinogenesis is the study of how normal cells are transformed into cancer cells. This department, along with The Center for Research on Environmental Disease (a program funded by the National Institute for Environmental Health and Safety) is located near Smithville, Texas. The research focuses on the cellular mechanisms by which environmental factors cause human disease, and the detection, prevention and control of environmentally-related disease.
Diagnostic Imaging answers the challenge to "see" cancer inside a patient's skull or spine, crucial for accurate diagnosis and treatment. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) are among the advanced techniques available to patients.
Endocrine Neoplasia provides the research and specialized care required when cancer affects the endocrine system. The Pituitary Program team collaborates with other members of the Brain Tumor Center to investigate the causes and complications of pituitary disease and to offer the latest treatments available for this disorder.
Epidemiology identifies risk factors for disease by showing relationships with particular population characteristics, for example, exposures to alcohol or smoking, biological agents, or chemicals. Molecular epidemiology compares genetic and environmental risk factors, identified at the molecular level, to the causes and distribution of disease within families and across populations.
Experimental Diagnostic Imaging develops new diagnostic methods to measure the extent of disease, determine activity of molecular pathways within a tumor, identify targets for anti-cancer therapy, and monitor anticancer genetic and cellular therapies. These novel imaging approaches will allow physicians to select individualized therapeutic regimens and help predict the efficacy of therapy early in the treatment.
Experimental Therapeutics integrates molecular modeling and drug design with an understanding of cancer biology and signaling pathways, in order to identify molecular targets for therapy and chemically synthesize and test small molecule inhibitors of these targets. Faculty work to design new, more effective drugs that are less toxic because they are targeted specifically to abnormalities unique to cancer.
Genetics focuses on the molecular genetic mechanisms that govern normal and abnormal cellular processes, including the basic mechanisms of cell survival, proliferation and death. Normally these biological processes contribute to stabile control in cellular development, but if hijacked by malignant processes, uncontrolled growth can result.
Imaging Physics provides medical imaging physics services for all radiological imaging equipment, in addition to conducting research in most aspects of medical imaging and managing the Small Animal Imaging Facility used in laboratory research.
Neuro-Oncology provides state-of-the-art treatment for patients with cancers of the nervous system, and expert care for neurologic complications from cancer or cancer therapies.
Neurophysiology measures electrical functions of the brain, spinal cord and the nerves in the limbs and muscles, to help in the diagnosis of problems a patient might experience, or to help guide neurosurgeons during operations for brain or spine tumors.
Neuro-Oncology Research studies abnormalities of cancer cells, and tests new therapeutic agents and new approaches to gene therapy, targeting molecular hallmarks of cancer cells or the signaling pathways that control tumor growth. Drug combination strategies are being explored to overcome the tumor cell's ability to resist a single drug.
Neuropsychology can help to determine if a patient’s symptoms are caused by problems within the brain or by other medical disorders, by normal aging or other dementing conditions, by neurotoxic effects of cancer therapy or other causes. Neuropsychological assessments are useful for competency and disability evaluations, discharge planning, return to work or school issues.
Neurosurgery involves the treatment of disorders of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerve, and at MD Anderson, is almost exclusively focused on tumor-related surgeries. It may involve the use of microsurgery, computer assisted surgical guidance, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or functional mapping during surgery, radiosurgery or chemotherapy delivered during surgery.
Franco DeMonte, M.D.
Amy Heimberger, M.D.
Frederick F. Lang, Jr., M.D.
Nicholas Levine, M.D.
Ian E. McCutcheon, M.D.
Sujit Prabhu, M.D.
Ganesh Rao, M.D.
Laurence D. Rhines, M.D.
Raymond Sawaya, M.D.
Jeffrey Weinberg, M.D.
Pathology identifies cancer cells in tissue or blood/fluid samples, using powerful microscopes and special techniques and stains, and can be used to identify molecular markers that may indicate how cancer cells will respond to various treatments.
Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Research
Radiation Oncology uses ionizing radiation to kill or damage cancer cells. The radiation may be controlled in different ways, such as conformal radiotherapy, intensity-modulated radiotherapy, or stereotactic radiosurgery, in order to spare normal tissue as much as possible, and it may be combined with chemotherapy to maximize the effect on tumor cells.
Systems Biology looks at the molecular mechanisms of cancer progression and how cancers develop drug resistance, in order to discover the mechanisms of action and develop appropriate therapies