Brain Tumor Fact Sheet

CIRM funds many projects seeking to better understand brain tumors and to translate those discoveries into new therapies.

Description

A type of brain tumor called a high-grade glioma, or malignant brain tumor, is among the hardest tumors to treat. About 13,000 people die from brain tumors each year.

Gliomas are particularly difficult to treat because they are made up of tumor cells that spread throughout the brain, not remaining in a single area where they could be removed through surgery or targeted by radiation. Chemotherapy has not been effective at eradicating all of the glioma cells.

Stem cell approaches look promising for treating gliomas. Certain types of stem cell tend to migrate toward the tumor cells wherever they are in the brain. CIRM-funded researchers are trying to genetically engineer those stem cells to produce cancer-killing molecules. Transplanted into the brain, these cells would seek out the cancer cells and deliver their therapy directly where it is needed. This approach could significantly decrease toxic side-effects to normal tissues, preserving or improving the patient's quality of life.

Clinical Stage Programs

ImmunoCellular Therapeutics

This team is targeting six cell surface proteins that are found on cancer stem cells in the brain cancer glioblastoma. Cells from the patient’s own immune system are exposed to fragments of these cancer cell surface proteins in the lab. When returned to the patient’s body, the immune system cells can now help identify and then hopefully kill the cancer stem cells responsible for the tumor’s recurrence and growth.

CIRM Grants Targeting Brain Tumors

Researcher name Institution Grant Title Grant Type Approved funds
Michael Snyder Stanford University Center of Excellence for Stem Cell Genomics - Stanford Genomics Centers of Excellence Awards (R) $22,796,609
Joshua Stuart University of California, Santa Cruz Center of Excellence for Stem Cell Genomics - UCSC Genomics Centers of Excellence Awards (R) $4,000,000
Anthony Gringeri ImmunoCellular Therapeutics A Phase III randomized double-blind, controlled study of ICT 107 with maintenance temozolomide (TMZ) in newly diagnosed glioblastoma following resection and concomitant TMZ chemoradiotherapy Clinical Trial Stage Projects $5,391,016
Albert Wong Stanford University 2nd Generation Vaccine for the Treatment of Glioblastoma Therapeutic Translational Research Projects $2,929,889
Noriyuki Kasahara University of California, Los Angeles Stem cell-based carriers for RCR vector delivery to glioblastoma Early Translational II $3,340,625
Karen Aboody City of Hope Stem Cell-mediated Therapy for High-grade Glioma: Toward Phase I-II Clinical Trials Disease Team Research I $17,890,623
Mitchel Berger University of California, San Francisco Stem Cell-Mediated Oncocidal Gene Therapy of Glioblastoma (GBM) Disease Team Research I $6,214,914
Robert Wechsler-Reya Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute The role of neural stem cells in cerebellar development, regeneration and tumorigenesis Research Leadership $5,226,050
Albert Wong Stanford University Recombinant Bispecific Antibody Targeting Cancer Stem Cells for the Therapy of Glioblastoma Disease Team Therapy Planning I $109,750
Stephen Forman City of Hope Targeting glioma cancer stem cells with receptor-engineered self-renewing memory T cells Early Translational III $5,215,447
Michelle Monje Stanford University White matter neuroregeneration after chemotherapy: stem cell therapy for “chemobrain” New Faculty Physician Scientist $2,800,536
Total:
$75,915,459.00

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