Brain Tumor Research Program
The Brain Tumor Research Program (within the Brain Tumor Center) is a multidisciplinary program that promotes collaborations among its members for laboratory research and treatment strategies for brain and spinal tumors. This program spans 22 departments and involves more than 100 research and clinical scientists who focus on discovering the molecular changes that drive brain and spinal tumors and developing effective new treatments for these devastating tumors.
The Brain Tumor Research Program supports interactions among its diverse group by sponsoring scientific retreats, meetings and collaborative projects.
Brain Tumor Research Program members participate in several high-profile projects, including:
- Brain Cancer SPORE (Specialized Program of Research Excellence), funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), for the study of new brain tumor treatments. As one of the few cancer centers in the nation to house such an award, we are able to offer patients participation in a range of unique clinical trials.
- Glioblastoma Moon Shot, part of MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program, a comprehensive and ambitious effort to rapidly and dramatically reduce mortality and suffering in cancer. Glioblastoma was one of six cancer types added to the program in 2015.
- The Cancer Genome Atlas, a program funded by NCI and the National Human Genome Research Institute to accelerate the understanding of the genetics of cancer. Brain Tumor Research Program funding is used to supply additional support to priority projects, allowing them to become more productive.
- Defeat GBM Research Collaborative, a subsidiary of the National Brain Tumor Society that aims to double the five-year survival of glioblastoma patients through a commitment to true collaboration across disciplines and institutions.
- GBM AGILE, a global adaptive clinical trial that will begin enrolling patients in 2016. The international trial is designed to use molecular biomarkers to deliver personalized medicine and identify effective treatments for glioblastoma faster than traditional clinical trials.
- Texas Medical Center Regenerative Medicine Consortium, a multi-departmental, multi-institutional, translational collaboration of scientists and clinicians dedicated to demonstrating the viability of using regenerative medicine approaches to combat the adverse effects of cancer therapies on brain structure and function and cognition.
Our intention is that the new knowledge generated by these partnerships will lead to improved detection of cancer, treatment for tumors and care for patients, as we train the next generation of clinicians and investigators.
Brain Tumor Research Topics
With more than 100 members across 22 different departments, our efforts span a wide spectrum of research topics. Our current areas of focus include:
Brain cancer genetics and mechanisms of growth
- Cancer genomics to read specific molecular signatures – see Brain Cancer SPORE Project 3 and Glioblastoma Moon Shot Flagship Project 3
- Mechanisms that drive tumor origin and progression, including stem cells, tumor microenvironment, metabolism, DNA repair mechanisms and signaling pathways
- Molecular drivers of brain metastasis
New therapies for brain cancer
- Biological therapies that target glioblastoma, including oncolytic virus DNX-2401 (formerly known as Delta-24) – see Brain Cancer SPORE Project 1 and Glioblastoma Moon Shot Flagship Project 2
- Immunotherapy and immune checkpoint inhibitors for primary and metastatic brain tumors – see Brain Cancer SPORE Project 4 and Glioblastoma Moon Shot Flagship Project 1
- CNS drug development and selection, targeting tumor cell abnormalities to discover, test and develop a broad spectrum of anti-glioma agents – see Glioblastoma Moon Shot Flagship Project 3
Advanced treatment options
- Targeted therapies aimed at tumor-specific molecular subtypes
- Diagnostic and therapeutic radiation advances, such as proton therapy and intensity-modulated proton therapy
- Stereotactic radiosurgery for brain (Gamma Knife®) and spine tumors
- Innovative surgical technologies and decision-making
Preservation of quality of life and cognitive function
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