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Last Updated: 10/10/18

Brain SPOREs

It is estimated that in 2016 there will be 23,770 new cases of cancer of the brain and nervous system and 16,050 deaths in the United States. Five-year survival rates are at 34%. Conventional cytotoxic agents have provided little benefit for brain cancer patients and brain cancer incidence, morbidity and mortality have not changed significantly in 20 years. The Brain Cancer SPORE program was initiated in 2002. In 2016, the five brain SPORE teams are making significant progress in the development of unique approaches for diagnosis and treatment including exploring chromosomal and genetic variants associated with overall survival as well as exploring predictive and prognostic markers. Non-invasive brain imaging studies are being developed for diagnostic utility and discovery of biomarkers of malignant transformation. Translational projects are targeting signaling pathways such as IDH, PI3K, STAT3, p53, apoptosis and BRAFV600E (for pediatric brain cancers) as well as exploring the tumor microenvironment and inhibition of angiogenesis to understand the disease processes and develop clinical treatments. Various SPORE teams are finding preliminary promising results using immunotherapies including oncolytic viral therapies with genetically engineered poliovirus, measles, modified adenoviruses or herpes simplex viruses. Other studies in immunotherapy include single target vaccines (mutated IDH1), or multipeptide glioma vaccine or an EGFRvIII-targeted chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). This highly collaborative group works together to share ideas, results, data, resources, and clinical populations.