Brain Cancer SPORE Core Resources

The Mayo Clinic Brain Cancer SPORE Grant has four scientific core resources and an administrative core, all of which help consolidate and facilitate the expertise required for effective brain cancer research.

The five cores resources in the Brain Cancer SPORE are:

Core 1. Administrative Core

Director: Brian Patrick O’Neill, M.D.

The Administrative Core supports the operational structure of the Brain Cancer SPORE, coordinating all research projects, scientific cores and programs, and facilitating SPORE operations and interactions.

Specifically, the Administrative Core:

  • Provides leadership, organizational support and financial management for SPORE investigators
  • Coordinates monthly scientific meetings and scientific review of SPORE research projects and cores
  • Facilitates the transfer of information to the scientific community via professional and public means
  • Administers grant funds, processes Internal Review Board protocols, and ensures compliance with all National Institutes of Health and institutional grant regulations
  • Coordinates internal and external advisory boards
  • Manages the SPORE Career Development Award and Developmental Research Award programs
  • Facilitates communication among SPORE investigators

Core 2. Biostatistics Core

Director: Jeanette E. Eckel Passow, Ph.D.

The Biostatistics Core provides statistical collaboration and data management support for SPORE research projects, the Developmental Research Program, the Career Development Program and other SPORE cores.

Specifically, the Biostatistics Core:

  • Provides statistical collaboration and data management support for SPORE research projects, developmental projects and cores across many different fields
  • Ensures that each SPORE investigator has access to statistical expertise, including collaborative development of study designs and analysis plans, state-of-the-art data analysis and interpretation, data management resources, and abstract and manuscript preparation
  • Provides a mechanism for the management and integration of existing data and newly collected data through consistent and compatible data handling
  • Complements and assists the efforts of other cores with high-quality data management and experience with tissue and clinical data registries

Core 3. Pathology and Tissue Procurement Core

Director: Caterina Giannini, M.D., Ph.D.

The Pathology and Tissue Procurement Core acquires human biospecimens and distributes them to SPORE investigators for use in translational research studies.

Specifically, the Pathology and Tissue Procurement Core:

  • Provides a centralized resource dedicated to procuring and processing tumor tissue for translational research from nearly every patient with newly diagnosed or relapsed primary central nervous system tumors who receives care at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
  • Coordinates the acquisition and timely distribution of brain tumor tissue in excess of clinical diagnosis, ensuring the appropriate diagnosis and the quality of tissue
  • Provides a comprehensive histologic characterization of all tissue samples used in the individual SPORE projects and expertise in the interpretation of studies performed on paraffin embedded and frozen tissue sections
  • Offers comprehensive services, including immunohistochemical characterization of biomarkers, tissue microarray design and construction, and DNA or RNA extraction
  • Maintains and enhances a repository of tumor tissue and matched blood specimens in conjunction with the Clinical Research Core
  • Promotes and facilitates sharing tissue resources with other brain cancer SPOREs in the U.S.

Core 4. Xenograft Core

Director: Jann N. Sarkaria, M.D.

The Xenograft Core provides mouse models that recapitulate the malignant phenotype of human glioblastomas.

Through the development and maintenance of several serially transplantable glioblastoma multiforme tumor lines, each of which has been or will be characterized for glioblastoma multiforme signature lesions, the Xenograft Core provides robust animal models that recapitulate the invasiveness seen in the human phenotype to SPORE investigators. The serially passaged xenografts provide a more clinically relevant model than established cell lines grown as xenografts.

Specifically, the Xenograft Core:

  • Develops and maintains xenograft tumors and brain tumor-initiating cultures derived from glioblastoma multiforme patients
  • Compares tumors derived from brain tumor-initiating cultures vs. direct xenografting of patient tissue
  • Provides detailed molecular and functional characterization of each xenograft line
  • Collects, processes and distributes xenograft and brain tumor-initiating culture tumor samples within and beyond the SPORE
  • Coordinates and conducts in vivo experiments using the xenograft/ brain tumor-initiating cultures panel
  • Coordinates and conducts imaging studies using the xenograft/ brain tumor-initiating cultures panel
  • Establishes secondary models for therapeutic resistance in select xenograft lines
  • Maintains up-to-date records on all brain tumor-initiating cultures, xenograft tissues and related biospecimens

Core 5. Clinical Research Core

Directors: Jan C. Buckner, M.D., and Daniel Honore Lachance, M.D.

The Clinical Research Core coordinates research access to brain cancer patients and their biospecimens at Mayo Clinic.

Specifically, the Clinical Research Core:

  • Identifies and recruits glioma patients for participation in observational human studies, and obtains patients' consent to use brain tumor tissue for multiple purposes outlined by the SPORE cores and research projects
  • Obtains demographic and clinical data from patient records and enters the data into the Mayo Clinic Neuro-Oncology Database.
  • Coordinates the collection of biospecimens
  • Screens and enrolls patients for participation in therapeutic clinical trials
  • Provides consultation on the development and implementation of observational and therapeutic trials