Current Research in Neurosurgery: Frederick F. Lang, Jr., M.D.

Dr. Lang’s laboratory research focuses on developing novel gene, viral, and stem cell approaches for the treatment of brain tumors with the goal of translating these new therapeutic approaches to the clinic. Initial work with adenoviral-mediated p53 gene therapy culminated in a unique Phase I clinical trial involving histological analyses of post-treatment specimens that demonstrated the need to improve delivery methods for these types of biological therapies. Subsequently, he tested a novel replication competent, oncolytic adenovirus, with enhanced tumor tropism called Delta-24-RGD, which he is currently testing in a Phase I clinical trial. 

As part of his continued effort to improve delivery of gene and viral therapies, Dr. Lang has most recently explored the use of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells in the therapy of gliomas. His laboratory was the first to establish the feasibility of using mesenchymal stem cells as intravascular delivery vehicles for human gliomas by showing that bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells are capable of homing to intracranial human gliomas after intravascular delivery, that the tropism of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells for gliomas is mediated at least in part by growth factors, and that MSCs can be engineered to deliver biological anti-cancer agents to gliomas, including secretable proteins (such as interferon-b) and oncolytic viruses (such as Delta-24-RGD). 

Subsequently his laboratory isolated human MSCs from brain tumors called Glioma-Associated-hMSCs (GA-hMSCs). These studies have led to current investigations into the interactions between GA-hMSCs and glioma stem cells (GSCs). Thus, the studies in this proposal represent a natural, but new, area of investigation for the PI.