Mayo Clinic gets brain tumor research grant

Volume 6, Issue 1, 2017

Summary

A joint grant with MIT will help researchers learn more about drugs to treat brain tumors.

Photograph of Jann N. Sarkaria, M.D.

Jann N. Sarkaria, M.D.

Mayo Clinic and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have been awarded a joint five-year, $9.7 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to support a physical sciences-oncology center.

Through work in the center, researchers hope to learn more about the physical parameters that limit drug delivery into brain tumors. Their findings will be used to build models to better predict how the body will distribute a particular drug to brain tumors and to select the best drug to treat each patient based on his or her unique tumor.

Mayo Clinic and MIT are among 10 institutions selected to participate in the NCI Physical Sciences in Oncology Network. The network supports innovative ideas that blend perspectives and approaches from the physical sciences, engineering and cancer research, with the goal of improving understanding of cancer biology and oncology.

"The most common types of malignant brain tumors have regions that are protected from most drugs," said co-principal investigator Jann N. Sarkaria, M.D., a radiation oncologist at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota. "Low-level drug exposure in these regions can promote drug resistance, and that may be why there have been no new effective drug treatments for brain tumors in more than a decade."