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Project Awards

2006

Martin Brown, Ph.D.
Stanford University

Sensitization of Brain Tumors to Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy plays a major role in the treatment of glioblastomas, but despite the very high radiation doses that can be delivered with modern techniques, the tumors frequently recur within the irradiated field.

Data from Dr. Brown's lab suggest the intriguing possibility that with transplanted human tumors in mice, bone marrow derived cells can play a major role in the resistance of tumors to irradiation. He and his colleagues hypothesize that these bone marrow derived cells repopulate or stabilize the tumor blood vessels after irradiation thereby supporting the remaining viable tumor cells and allowing them to grow and that targeting these bone marrow cells could lead to increased tumor radiosensivity and survival.

This project combines the expertise of two laboratories, that of Dr. Brown, an expert in tumor radiation biology, and that of Dr. Bergers, an expert in blood vessel formation in tumor development. The researchers intend to identify the specific bone marrow-derived cells that have radioprotective effects in laboratory models and inhibit these cells or their related growth factors in effort to thereby increase the efficacy of radiation treatment.

Targeting both the local tumor and the bone marrow derived cells could lead to a major increase in the curability of brain tumors by irradiation. Successful identification of the bone marrow-derived cells responsible for tumor radioprotection and the availability of therapeutics that target them could readily lead to a clinical trial in combination with radiation treatment.


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