CSF Biomarker discovery

Blood tests are a standard and critical way to follow disease and monitor health. However, the blood-brain barrier prevents most chemicals and other biomarkers from easily passing between the blood and brain. Due to this limitation, if we want to understand neurological disease, or monitor brain tumors, we need to look beyond blood. The brain produces, and floats in, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF can be accessed via a lumbar puncture "spinal tap." Alternatively, patients undergoing surgery for a brain tumor may elect to have a reservoir placed under the scalp that provides easy CSF access.

We are working with numerous teams across the country to understand what genetic, metabolic, proteomic and other signals are present within CSF that can help us better monitor CNS diseases, including brain tumors, and more accurately evaluate response to therapy. Patients interested in participating in our clinical studies for CSF biomarkers can elect to receive research results that meet rigorous quality criteria. These biomarker results, such as cell-free DNA, are increasingly being requested by physicians to help guide patient management. In the future, it may be possible to obtain a brain tumor diagnosis from CSF to enable treatment while avoiding a potentially dangerous brain biopsy. Patients interested in CSF biomarkers may enroll in one of our clinical trials to study CSF, with or without placement of a CSF reservoir.

A study to create a repository for cerebrospinal fluid samples

Ommaya placement for biomarker collection