Radiological image of a mouse with glioblastoma.

There exists a dire need for improvement of therapies to treat malignant brain tumors. Current strategies, both surgical and therapeutic, have many undesirable side effects and are not curative. The Brain Tumor Center (BTC) at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center provides a unique strategic opportunity to bring together researchers and clinicians for scientific discovery and development of truly effective brain tumor therapies. Together, our physicians and scientists are working to deploy all available modern genomic and transgenic technology afforded by MSK’s state-of-the-art infrastructure.

In the face of challenges to more effectively treat glioblastoma (GBM), basic scientific efforts must be supported to better understand the unique underlying biology. The cell or cells that normally give rise to GBM must be identified so that the key changes that take place in transforming them into tumors can be identified.

Modern genomic landscaping implies the diversity of GBM subtypes. The functional and clinical significance of these findings must be validated and translated into practical application.

The natural history of tumor development and the contribution of the unique brain microenvironment likely support tumor growth and must be understood and neutralized. The precise mechanism of tumor growth and development, whether hierarchical or plastic, must be unraveled to achieve a better platform for the evaluation of emergent therapies.

The BTC is committed to supporting and enhancing interaction, collaboration, and tool development to advance the fight against brain tumors. Through the establishment of a comprehensive patient-derived xenograft (PDX) program, thoroughly curated GBM samples will be used to develop xenografts, comprehensive molecular profiling, and establishment of primary cultures that will also be genomically mined. Complementary genetically engineered mouse models of GBM will be characterized and maintained.

These long-term resources will be at the disposal of MSK researchers and clinicians for the testing of new hypotheses and for preclinical evaluation. 

A seminar series and seed grants for the development of new hypotheses will be supported as a means to maintain a connected research community.