$14.5M Grant Awarded for Glioblastoma Research

close up of microscope

E. Antonio Chiocca, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, has received a $14.5M Program Project grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for his research on glioblastoma. These NCI grants support multidisciplinary research that addresses a major scientific objective. The highly competitive grants are only awarded to a few research programs every five years.

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Surgical Collaboration Treats Complex Spinal Deformities

surgeons

A unique collaboration at Brigham and Women’s Hospital is helping patients with scoliosis and other complex spinal problems reclaim their quality of life. The Adult Spinal Deformity and Scoliosis Program, led by co-directors Hasan A. Zaidi, MD, Melvin C. Makhni, MD, MBA, and Yi Lu, MD, PhD, is one of the very few in the country to bring together specialists in neurosurgery and orthopaedic surgery to treat patients through the entire continuum of care.

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$12.5M Grant to Develop Targeted Glioma Therapies

brain scan

At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Tracy Batchelor, MD, MPH, chair of the Department of Neurology, has received a Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

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Could MicroRNAs Change the Face of Glioblastoma Treatment?

a rendition of the RNA structure What is the role of microRNAs in glioblastoma (GBM)? How do they control the epigenetic landscape of the tumor and its microenvironment? Questions like these are at the heart of the research of Pier Paolo Peruzzi, MD, PhD, a neurosurgeon and researcher at the Department of Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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Deceased COVID-19 Patients Show Hypoxic Injury in the Brain

Human brain
Coronal view of one of the 18 human brains in a study led by Isaac H. Solomon, MD, PhD, a pathologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

While COVID-19 primarily affects the lungs of those infected, many patients have reported a wide range of unusual neurological symptoms. These include headaches, altered mental status, strokes, seizures and loss of smell. Many researchers have hoped that autopsies could shed light on the unknowns of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

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Attacking GBM: Building a micro RNA Therapy; Testing a Treatment Microdevice

A research team from the Department of Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital has published its step-by-step “recipe” for combining microRNAs into genetic therapies. The new publication comes on the heels of earlier work that shows promise for a potential glioblastoma (GBM) gene therapy. In sharing their technique, the researchers hope to help others create transgenes that could target virtually any complex molecular pathway in a broad range of tumors and other disorders.
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7T MRI Reveals a Link Between Meningeal and Gray Matter Involvement in MS

7 Tesla MRI findings in multiple sclerosis*

Increased immune system activity at the brain’s surface, or meningeal inflammation, is believed to be important for understanding how relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) — the most common early form of the disease — progresses to more advanced clinical stages. But the most commonly available MRI technology, 3 Tesla (3T), offers a limited view of meningeal inflammation.
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Breaching the Blood-Brain Barrier to Target Glioblastoma

Image adapted with permission from the Focused Ultrasound Foundation

A preliminary trial of focused ultrasound (FUS) to open the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in patients with glioblastoma (GBM) is underway at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and two other sites. One of the study’s first patients, treated by  neurosurgeon Alexandra J. Golby, MD, has shown that the barrier was breached safely and successfully.

The study is a first step toward using non-invasive FUS technology to deliver chemotherapy more effectively to the site of a brain tumor at concentrations higher than occurs with current treatments.
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How We Improved Door-to-Needle Time for Thrombectomy

Using principles of industrial engineering and system dynamics, the stroke care team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital Department of Neurosurgery improved door-to-needle time for thrombectomy. Starting with a thorough assessment of workflow, the team replaced sequential processes with parallel ones, improved communication and transparency across the many disciplines involved, and increased awareness of how each role contributed to patient care. The result: Improved efficiency shortened the door-to-needle time that is a hallmark of quality in stroke care.
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Moving Toward a Tau Plasma Biomarker for Alzheimer’s Disease

Image: Neurofibrillary tangles (dark neurons) in an AD brain, from which tau fragments may derive

Progress in creating and evaluating a tau biomarker test at Brigham and Women’s Hospital is spurring rapid movement toward a blood-based screen to diagnose or predict risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) perhaps without the need for spinal fluid or imaging.
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