Cancer Institute

Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute



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Brain Tumor Research

Under the direction of Keith L. Black, MD, Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery, the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute is conducting genetic research to investigate potential viruses capable of shuttling "good" genes to areas with brain tumors.

New gene therapy strategies for brain lesions are also being investigated to make brain tumors vulnerable to attack, either by the immune system or by chemotherapy drugs.

One key area involves using cells that introduce tumor molecules to the immune system. These cause the immune system to attack the tumor and improve the chances for patient survival.

Another major research focus relates to boosting the immune response. Brain tumors are known to release immune-suppressing proteins that turn down the body's immune responses and may enable the tumor to grow even larger.

At the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute, scientists have genetically manipulated brain tumor cells using what is called the TGF-b treatment. This treatment allows the immune system to recognize and begin to destroy both modified and unmodified brain tumor cells.

The TGF-b treatment is now available to Neurosurgical Institute patients in clinical trials.

To view a list of current clinical trials relating to brain tumors, visit our Clinical Trials Directory.