Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors
The common interests of Duke Cancer Institute’s Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors disease group are primary malignant brain tumors of adults and children.
Compared to other cancers, brain and spinal cord cancers are relatively rare. Malignant brain and spinal cord tumors are likely to grow quickly and spread into other parts of the brain. The chance of recovery depends on many factors, including age, tumor size, tumor type, and where the tumor is in the central nervous system.
The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center continues to lead the nation in having the largest clinical brain tumor service seeing between 800 and 900 new brain tumor patients annually from 50 states and 5 countries.
Our research activities include:
- Conducting epidemiological and molecular epidemiological studies to investigate etiology and to identify populations at greater and lesser risk for development of malignant brain tumors in adults and children
- Working to determine molecular mechanisms of transformation, altered growth control, and invasion of malignant brain tumors of adults and children
- Identifying new drugs active against primary brain tumors of adults and children
- Working to determine mechanisms of drug resistance in primary brain tumors, and to institute methods to overcome drug resistance
- Developing monoclonal antibodies and recombinant DNA antibody fragments reactive with molecular targets, primary brain tumors, and developing immunoconjugates for brain tumor treatment
- Developing new radiolabeling technology for peptides and monoclonal antibodies and their fragments that will facilitate the investigation of promising radionuclides, including the α-emitter 211Astatine and the beta-emitter 177Lutetium, in targeted radiotherapy clinical trial for brain tumor patients
- Developing cell-mediated immunotherapy and dendritic-based vaccine trials for brain tumors
- Developing oncolytic poliovirus with no neurovirulence, but retention of oncolytic capacity for gliomas, into a reagent that can be used for therapy of malignant gliomas and neoplastic meningitis from breast cancer
- Developing imaging capabilities with Positron Emission Tomography (PET) for improved brain tumor diagnosis, monitoring of therapeutic response, and determination of patient-specific radiation dosimetry in radiolabeled antibody, chemotherapy and small molecular inhibitor clinical trials in brain tumor patients
We design and execute Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III clinical trials in primary and metastatic brain and spinal cord tumors in adults and children, based on laboratory discoveries within our program, and also execute clinical trials for improvement of quality of life in brain and spinal cord tumor patients.