The goal of the Neuro-Oncology DOT is to advance the understanding and treatment of primary brain tumors. The members of the Neuro-Oncology DOT come from multiple medical and research specialties and these members collaborate to advance research and develop new approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of multiple types of brain tumors. The Neuro-Oncology DOT funds these research and treatment efforts through a combination of support from Huntsman Cancer Institute, the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, external grants, and individual donations.
Overview of Projects
The Neuro-Oncology DOT currently is engaged in and supporting multiple projects carried out by our faculty focused on improving the understanding and treatment of brain tumors. These projects are based on areas of expertise of our faculty members where we believe we can make a significant impact on these diseases. The individual projects and areas of research are as follows:
- The role of mutations in the isocitrate dehydrogenase gene in glioma biology and treatment: This gene has been identified as a key driver of glioma formation and is a potential target for new treatments. We currently have projects aimed at developing new mouse models to study the biology of these tumors, developing new methods of imaging using MRI to diagnose and monitor these treatments, and to identify genetic factors that put patients and families at increased risk of developing these tumors.
- The role of hypoxia (low oxygen levels) in driving glioma biology and treatment resistance: Hypoxia is common in many tumor types and are known to drive multiple aspects of the biology of these tumors. Several of our faculty have made novel discoveries regarding the contribution of hypoxia related to the surgical and radiation/chemotherapy treatment of these tumors. Efforts in this project are aimed at developing new tumor models and treatments based on this work.
- Understanding the role of mutations in the Succinate Dehydrogenase gene in Paraganglioma: Paraganglioma tumors are a rare form of neuroendocrine tumors and recent findings by our faculty and others have identified mutations in the Succinate Dehydrogenase gene in families with increased risk of Paraganglioma and in tumors that arise outside of those families. Based on this expertise, our faculty are working to develop new models to study the biology of these treatments, develop new treatments, and determine the role of this gene in other related cancers.
- New clinical trials for treatment of brain tumors: Our faculty have developed several novel therapeutic approaches for brain tumors that are currently being tested in clinical trials and also participate in many national and collaborative efforts with other brain tumor centers. The list of current clinical trials can be found below.