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An estimated 22,000 new diagnoses of primary malignant central nervous system tumors will be made in the United States this year and result in 1.5% of all cancer-related deaths. Gliomas, cancers of the supporting glial cells, will account for >14,000 of these cases. The most aggressive is glioblastoma multiforme (GBM, also known as grade IV astrocytoma), associated with a median survival of only 12-14 months despite maximal surgical resection, radiation treatment, and chemotherapy with the alkylating agent temozolomide. Recently, a rare subset of cancer cells termed cancer stem cells (CSCs) has been identified with enhanced ability to initiate tumors and resistance to common radiation and chemotherapies. Going against traditional dogma, every cancer cell may not be created equal, and specifically targeting and eradicating the CSCs could greatly improve brain tumor therapies.

Our Mission

The goal of the Brain Tumor Research Laboratory is the biological and molecular characterization of cancer stem cells (CSCs) toward developing novel therapies specifically targeting the CSC population. We are working toward combining specific anti-CSC therapies with traditional regimens that destroy the bulk cancer cells to improve initial treatment and prevent recurrence of brain tumors.

Brain Tumor Research Group

  • John S. Kuo, MD, PhD
  • Paul A. Clark, PhD
  • Kyle Swanson, MD (Neurosurgery Fellow)
  • Kelli B. Pointer (MD PhD student)
  • Ray R. Zhang (MD PhD student)
  • Steve Amaefuna (MD student)
  • Will Lyon
  • Jordan Gaal


(Podcast) John S. Kuo describes a new class of small-molecule, cancer-selective imaging and therapeutic agents.

(Article) "Alkylphosphocholine Analogs for Broad-Spectrum Cancer Imaging and Therapy” Science Translational Medicine




Supported By

  • National Institutes of Health
  • Headrush Brain Tumor Professorship
  • Roger Loff Memorial Fund for GBM Research (Farming against Brain Cancer)
  • Carbone Cancer Center
  • Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine
  • Medical Scientist Training Program
  • Steve Bolser Memorial Joggin for the Noggin
  • Semman Gray Matters Jam



Janaury 2015

Last updated: Tue, 03/01/2016 - 12:57
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