Insights from live human brain tumors

We believe the best "model" of a human brain tumor IS the human brain tumor. Unlike cell cultures and animal models, live human brain tumors are the product of a complex human brain microenvironment. So, the best way to learn about human brain tumors is to study them while they are still in the human brain prior to surgical removal. We are developing strategies to measure and understand the chemical signals that define brain tumors and their behavior.

Gliomas are the most common adult brain tumors. No new drug has improved survival since 2005. Most clinical trials recruit many patients to test one drug. But every patient and every tumor is different. We'd like to turn the standard (failing) paradigm upside down to test many drugs directly within the tumor of a single patient. We believe that by studying the tumor in real time prior to resection, we can learn faster and identify the right drug or drug combinations. Most brain tumor studies measure success based on how long patients survive in experimental versus control groups. Although these survival studies are the gold standard, we need more mechanistic feedback while the patient is still alive, so we can know how to improve and keep patients alive longer.

Changing paradigms requires developing new technologies, new clinical workflows, and ability to discover, test and iterate quickly. We are collaborating with expert teams around the world to make this happen. If you'd like to help, we'd love to talk with you.

Here's an example of our ongoing efforts to learn more from live human brain tumors during surgery:

If patients with brain tumors would like to become involved in this effort, we are accepting patients for our ongoing clinical trial.