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Two people smile outside holding butterflies

Forming Connections to Address Rare Brain Tumor Treatment and Care >

Scientists and neuro-oncology providers are taking a comprehensive approach to improve care and treatment—performing laboratory research, conducting clinical trials, and fostering a sense of community. Watch Now >


Explore the news categories below to learn about the NCI Center for Cancer Research's Neuro-Oncology Branch (NOB) and its scientific innovations, patient care, training opportunities, and recent events.

Cancer Metabolism Research

Close-up of Dr. Larion peering into a microscope

Understanding How Cell Metabolism Fuels Brain Tumors >

Mioara Larion aims to understand cancer metabolism in order to develop better, less toxic treatments for people with brain and spine tumors. Watch video >

Three microscopy images of brain tissue

Building a Toolkit to Examine How Cancer Cells Redirect Their Energy to Grow >

A technique called Raman spectroscopy has revolutionized the way Dr. Mioara Larion’s lab understands tumor cell metabolism—and may ultimately help researchers design more effective cancer drugs. Read more >

Two scientists pointing at computer screen with data on it

Targeting Cancer Metabolism to Improve Care and Treatment for Brain and Spine Tumor Patients >

Dr. Mioara Larion leads the Cancer Metabolism Research Program and devises innovative approaches to improve outcomes for central nervous system tumors. Read more >

Cancer Stem Cell Biology Research

CD4 and CD8 staining of mouse brain tumor tissue confirming that immune cells called CD4+ T cells and CD8+ T cells are both increased in the vaccine group.

A New Vaccine to Target Treatment-Resistant Glioblastoma >

The rWTC-MBTA vaccine extended survival and prevented tumor recurrence in preclinical brain tumor models. Read more >

Headshot of Dr. Zhuang next to a microscopy image of glioblastoma cells

Examining How Brain Tumors Thrive in Low Oxygen Environments to Develop Targeted Therapies >

Dr. Zhengping Zhuang combines clinical observations and preclinical models to understand how glioblastoma cells multiply rapidly in oxygen-depleted environments during tumor development. Read more >

Cell and Molecular Biology Research

Microscopy images showing cell cycle progression for cells treated with various drugs

New Drug Enhances Chemotherapy to Control Glioblastoma Cell Growth and Target Treatment Resistance >

This drug disrupts cell cycle timing in brain tumor cells and makes them more vulnerable to chemotherapy, which improves survival in preclinical models. Read more >

Microscopy image of glioma cells from the researchers’ preclinical mouse model.

New Study Decodes the Genetics of Brain Tumors to Develop More Precise Therapies >

Cancer researchers have identified an effective treatment in mouse models for targeting gliomas carrying genetic abnormalities known as IDH mutations. Read more >

Microscopy image of glioma cell in motion

Exploiting Brain Cancer Cells’ Vulnerabilities to Combat Treatment Resistance >

As head of the Molecular and Cell Biology Research Program, Dr. Chunzhang Yang investigates whether genetic mutations in cancer cells could serve as therapeutic targets. Read more > 

Illustration of PARP enzymes helping to repair damaged DNA.

PARP Inhibitors May be Effective in Brain, Other Cancers With IDH Mutations >

Studies reveal new insights into the function of genetic mutations commonly found in a form of brain cancer and identify a potential new treatment strategy. Read more >

Clinical Research

Bar graph showing estimated prevalence of the eight most common cancer types in children and adolescents in the United States during 2024. Brain and other CNS tumors are estimated to be the highest, with 159,560 cases.

Statistical Report Highlights Key Trends in Adolescents and Young Adults with Brain Tumors >

Analyses reveal critical information that will help providers and researchers understand the unique needs of these patients. Read more >

Close up of a doctor's hands giving a patient's hands pills

New Clinical Trial Tests a Kind of Precision Medicine Treatment for IDH-Mutant Brain Tumors >

A new trial investigates zotiraciclib as a treatment for people with recurrent gliomas containing an IDH1 or IDH2 mutation to control tumor growth and improve quality of life. Read more >

Two figures: 1. Pie chart showing the distribution of newly diagnosed cases by tumor type: Gliomatosis Cerebri (0.9%), AT/RT (1.6%), Primary CNS Sarcoma (5.5%), CNS embryonal tumor, NEC/NOS (1.9%); Pleomorphic Xanthoastrocytomas (2.1%); Pineal Region Tumors (3.1%); Choroid Plexus Tumors (3.6%); Brainstem and Midline Gliomas (12.4%); High Grade Meningiomas (6.9%); Medulloblastoma; (9.4%) Oligodendrogliomas (24.2%); Ependymomas (28.6%). 2. A line graph with Average Annual Age-Adjusted Incidence Rate per 100,0

New Study Reveals Data on Rare Central Nervous System Tumors to Inform Clinical Care and Evaluate Novel Cancer Treatments >

Researchers share up-to-date trends in brain and spine tumor incidence, prevalence, and survival that incorporate new classification standards. Read more >

Doctor performs neurological exam on patient

Natural History Study for Rare Brain and Spine Tumors Enrolls One Thousand Participants >

In the six years since it began, the Natural History Study has amassed an enormous database of information that is helping to improve treatment and quality of life for patients with rare central nervous system cancers. Read more >

Hand holding pills and cup of water

Oral Drug Combination Shows Benefit for Adults with Ependymoma >

Results from the first prospective clinical trial for adults with ependymoma lead to a change in treatment guidelines, offering hope to control the disease and improve symptoms. Read more >

Illustration showing the progression of tumor cells from the tumor core (CT) to the leading edge of the tumor (LE) through an intermediate state (IT), towards a proliferating state (CTmvp) close to vasculature or a necrotic state (CTpan).

New Study Explores How Glioblastoma Cells Adapt to Survive and Cause Recurrence >

Using bioinformatics and mathematical modeling, Drs. Orieta Celiku and Mark Gilbert found tools to explain how glioblastoma cells may adapt to survive in stressful conditions. Read more >

Immunology Research

Microscopy image of immune cells in peripheral lymphoid tissue

Mobilizing the Immune System to Fight Brain and Spine Tumors >

As a member of the Translational Immunology Research Program, Staff Scientist Dr. Masashi Watanabe investigates approaches to tailor immunotherapies to treat glioblastomas. Read more >

Headshot of Dr. Gilbert in lab coat

Making Immunotherapy Effective for Patients with Brain Tumors >

The Translational Immunology Research Program studies the unique nature of the immune response in the brain to develop better treatments and improve patient outcomes. Read more >

Scientist's hands holding test tube

Understanding How Brain Tumor Cells Interact with the Immune System to Improve Patient Outcomes >

The Basic Immunology Research Program studies the function of T cells in brain and spine cancers, in order to better understand the immunobiology of glioblastomas and improve immunotherapy. Read more >

MRI scan and histology example of "pseudoprogression": imaging suggested a patient with glioblastoma had a growing tumor after treatment, but tumor sample analysis indicated the treatment did kill most of the tumor.

Can Immunotherapy Succeed in Glioblastoma? >

Despite some setbacks, researchers are hopeful that immunotherapy can succeed where other therapies have not to improve glioblastoma survival rates. Read more >

Patient Outcomes Research

Colorful microscopy image showing a close-up of a mouse brain

Study Finds Genetic Mutation Combats Daytime Sleepiness Caused by Brain Cancer Treatment >

Preclinical experiments reveal that an alteration in the circadian PER2 gene may help prevent some of the negative side effects that brain tumor patients experience from radiation therapy. Read more >

Headshot of Dr. Guedes next to two figure panels showing the different between a healthy brain cell and a brain cell post-injury

Neuroscientist Unravels the Molecular Basis for Brain and Spine Tumor Symptoms to Improve Patient Care >

Dr. Vivian De Alvarenga Guedes is studying the molecular events underlying brain tumor symptoms—and how biological age affects these symptoms—to discover new ways to improve them. Read more > 

Headshot of Dr. Terri Armstrong next to an illustration of gears saying: Develop biologically based relevant interventions, Explore the biologic underpinnings, Accurately measure clinical trajectory and clinical benefit

Tracking Patient Outcomes to Improve Clinical Trials >

In collaboration with leaders in the field, Dr. Terri Armstrong published a paper outlining the importance of tracking patient outcomes in clinical trials. Read more > 

Dr. Terri Armstrong speaking at a podium

Improving Everyday Life for People with Brain and Spine Cancers >

Dr. Terri Armstrong shares why she chose to study rare brain and spine tumors and how her research is advancing patient quality of life. Read more >

Translational Research

Blue microscopy image of brain cells up close

FDA grants orphan drug designation to indotecan for the treatment of glioma >

The FDA granted orphan drug status to LMP400 (indotecan) for use in patients with malignant glioma, a cancer of the brain that begins in glial cells. Read more >

Blue and Green microscopy image of brain tumor cells treated with 2 drugs: LMP400 and Niraparib

Powerful Drug Combination Kills Glioblastoma Tumors Containing a Unique Genetic Makeup >

Researchers conducted preclinical experiments to explore a treatment that damages brain tumors’ DNA and prevents the cells from repairing it. Read more >

Stock image of doctor speaking with a patient as they both smile

Clinical Trial Researches Drug Therapy for CNS Tumors >

A clinical trial led by Dr. Jing Wu is researching a drug therapy for gliomas that contain mutations in the IDH1 and IDH2 genes, which are especially aggressive. Read more >

MRI brain scan next to a diagram of a brain cell and a headshot of Jing Wu

Targeting Tumors in the Brain >

Dr. Jing Wu aims to better understand gliomas and identify potential therapies to treat these tricky brain tumors. Read more >

Dr. Jing Wu in front of computer screen displaying MRI images

Turning Patient Observations and Laboratory Findings into Clinical Trials >

The Translational Research Program is dedicated to developing clinical trials for people living with a brain and spine tumor—which requires research in a laboratory and patient observations in the clinic. Read more >

Microscopy image of nanoparticles in the brain

FDA Grants Orphan Drug Designation to Zotiraciclib for the Treatment of Glioma >

Dr. Jing Wu's investigational drug, zotiraciclib, received orphan drug approval by the FDA for treating gliomas, which comprise up to 30 percent of all brain and central nervous system tumors. Read more >

Two people smile outside holding butterflies

Forming Connections to Address Rare Brain Tumor Treatment and Care >

Scientists and neuro-oncology providers are taking a comprehensive approach to improve care and treatment—performing laboratory research, conducting clinical trials, and fostering a sense of community. Watch now >

Alvina Acquaye-Mallory smiling and talking to someone

Combatting Stress and Promoting Wellness in Cancer Care >

Outcomes Research Program Manager Alvina Acquaye-Mallory answers questions about how health care providers, patients, and caregivers can cope with stress and burnout during their cancer care journey. Read more >

Four headshots: Tricia Kunst, Kelly Fernandez, Christine McGowan, and Kathleen Wall

Research Nurses Help Trailblaze New Treatments by Managing Clinical Trials for Brain and Spine Tumor Patients >

By coordinating the experimental treatment and care of people with brain and spine tumors participating on clinical studies, research nurses in the Neuro-Oncology Branch are helping advance therapies and patient outcomes. Read more >

Jennifer Reyes and Claudia Chambers smiling next to each other by an inflatable globe and ferns

Protocol Navigators Collaborate to Make Cutting-Edge Neuro-Oncology Clinical Trials Possible >

Claudia Chambers and Jennifer Reyes are essential members of the Neuro-Oncology Branch, who work diligently to oversee research protocols and guarantee that clinical trials are implemented accurately and safely. Read more >

A triptych of 3 headshots: Marta Penas-Prado, Erin Dunbar, and Adam Cohen

Forging an Alliance of Care to Meet the Unmet Needs of Rare Brain and Spine Tumor Patients >

Providers in the Neuro-Oncology and NCI-CONNECT Clinics collaborate with a patient’s local specialists to offer guidance and opportunities to participate in cutting-edge clinical trials. Read more >

Adam Hayden speaking at a podium in front of an audience

Bringing the Patient, Caregiver, and Advocate Voice to Clinicians and Researchers to Better Understand Survivorship >

Adam Hayden and Kimberly Wallgren visited NCI to share their invaluable perspectives on survivorship and person-centered care in neuro-oncology. Read more >

Headshots of 14 different NOB nurses

Celebrating Nurses Week >

Our nurse practitioners, research nurses, and nurse scientists make tireless contributions to provide the best care for our brain and spine tumor patients. Read more >

Tricia Kunst in exam room

Research Nurse Offers Help, Hope, and a Friendly Voice to People with Rare Brain and Spine Tumors >

Research Nurse Tricia Kunst shares important information about the Neuro-Oncology Branch's flagship Natural History Study, as well as what she loves about her job and the people she gets to meet along the way. Read more >

Researchers meeting in conference room

Developing Clinical Trials to Advance Care for Brain and Spine Cancers > 

Devising clinical trials for brain and spine tumors is vital to improving care for patients—but neuro-oncology trials have unique challenges given the rarity and characteristics of these tumors. Read more >

Two images of Bob: one with his wife and one with his dog

Glioblastoma Survivor Finds Hope at NIH >

An active cyclist and outdoor enthusiast, Bob made many lifestyle changes to accommodate his needs as he underwent treatment for his glioblastoma. Read more >

Three images of Andrew: one smiling alone, one with his wife, and one with his son

Astrocytoma Survivor Finds Care and Treatment Options at NIH >

Andrew, an astrocytoma survivor, visits the Neuro-Oncology Branch regularly for treatment advice from our experienced neuro-oncology physicians and nurses. Read more >

Matt Lindsley smiling in uniform next to American flag

Serving on the Frontlines of Public Health >

Lieutenant and Research Nurse Matthew Lindsley shares his experiences and public service role. Read more >

Headshots of 11 nurses

Celebrating Nurses Week 2020 >

In celebration of Nurses Week, we highlight our research nurses, clinical nurse practitioners, and nurse-scientists who care for our brain and spine tumor patients. Read more >

Headshots of 3 summer interns

Translational Research Immersion Program Interns Share Their Projects at the Annual Summer Poster Day >

Summer interns collaborated with pioneering neuro-oncologists to investigate methods to improve immunotherapy, tailor survivorship programs, and target cancer cells using antibiotics. Read more >

Close-up of scientist working in lab wearing a lab coat with the NIH logo

Neuro-Oncology Branch Trainees Share Their Work at the Society for Neuro-Oncology Annual Meeting >

The Neuro-Oncology Branch hosts a variety of transdisciplinary trainees who presented their work at a national neuro-oncology conference. Read more >

Intern in lab coat typing on laptop

Summer Interns Work Side-by-Side with Leading Neuro-Oncologists >

The Neuro-Oncology Branch welcomed six summer interns during the summer of 2021, who observed and engaged with clinical and laboratory professionals leading clinical, translational, and basic research. Read more >

Close-up of labcoat with NIH logo

Neuro-Oncology Fellowship Program Guides Future Leaders >

To advance the care and treatment of those living with a brain or spine tumor, the Neuro-Oncology Branch and Johns Hopkins University created a joint Neuro-Oncology Fellowship Program to train the next generation of physician scientists. Read more > 

Images of Dr. Jing Wu with her trainee and Dr. Terri Armstrong with her trainees

International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2020 >

In honor of International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we celebrated female mentors and mentees in the Neuro-Oncology Branch. Read more >

Four images of principal investigators and their trainees

Celebrating National Mentoring Month 2020 >

Neuro-Oncology Branch postdoctoral fellows share their love for science and how their mentors have made their experience at NIH more rewarding. Read more >

Six images of NIH neuro-oncology professionals smiling outside and holding butterflies

A Celebration of Hope for the Brain and Spine Tumor Community >

NIH neuro-oncology professionals raised awareness for ependymoma and honored patients, care partners, and medical professionals in a butterfly release event. Read more >

Group picture of people smiling outside at the Race for Hope DC, with Mark Gilbert in the middle

Celebrating CCR Careers: Mark Gilbert, M.D. >

After nearly a decade at the Center for Cancer Research as chief of the Neuro-Oncology Branch, Dr. Mark Gilbert is announcing his retirement. Read more >

Headshot of Orieta Celiku smiling against a grey background

Dr. Orieta Celiku Receives Society for Neuro-Oncology Abstract Award for Excellence in Healthcare Equity >

Neuro-Oncology Branch staff scientist is recognized for her research on the disparities in neuro-oncology clinical trial access across the United States. Read more >

Group shot of ~30 workshop participants smiling in a conference room

Center for Cancer Research Hosts Communications Course for Healthcare Providers in Oncology >

Over 20 people from various oncology disciplines gathered to learn how to better communicate with patients and families about critical aspects of care. Read more >

Screenshot of WebEx meeting showing the 4 speakers: Michelle Mollica, Terri Armstrong, Emily Tonorezos, and Kimberly Wallgren.

Advancing the Science of Survivorship in Neuro-Oncology >

Dr. Terri Armstrong joined fellow leaders in the field of cancer survivorship to discuss the needs of those living with brain and spine tumors, as well as goals for the future and research funding opportunities. Read more >

4 pieces of artwork: one showing people embracing, one showing a brain MRI scan, one showing a cyanotype of flowers, and one showing a drawing of a butterfly

Neuro-Oncology Branch Hosts Art Exhibition in Honor of Brain Tumor Awareness Month >

Branch members shared poems, paintings, sculptures, and other works of art to display their creativity and build connections within the brain tumor community. Read more >

Headshots of Terri Armstrong, Alvina Acquaye-Mallory, Tracy Ani, and Jing Wu

Neuro-Oncology Branch Members Earn NCI Director’s Awards for Improving Patient Care and Outcomes >

Dr. Terri Armstrong, Alvina Acquaye-Mallory, and Tracy Ani were recognized for their efforts to make clinical trials more inclusive, while Dr. Jing Wu was recognized for her research on the anticancer drug zotiraciclib. Read more >

Headshot of Dr. Gilbert

Mark Gilbert Earns American Brain Tumor Association’s Joel A. Gingras Jr. Award >

The Neuro-Oncology Branch chief was recognized for his work spearheading brain tumor research collaborations and expanding clinical trial access. Read more >

People in conference room listening to speaker

Neuro-Oncology Branch Invites Scholars to Share Their Work in Successful Lecture Series >

The Visiting Scholar Program fosters collaboration and the exchange of ideas to help develop new therapies and improve outcomes for people with brain and spine tumors. Read more >

Abstract image of scientists talking with the words: introduction to career pathways in neuro-oncology. Watch now.

Introduction to Career Pathways in Neuro-Oncology Virtual Event >

The Neuro-Oncology Branch and the Society for Neuro-Oncology co-hosted a virtual event to provide a venue for students and trainees to learn about neuro-oncology careers in basic science, clinical care, research. View recording >

Hand holding reflex hammer

Neuro-Oncology Branch Nurses Share Natural History Study Data at National Conference > 

The Natural History Study aims to better understand brain and spine tumors—and uncover areas for further research. Read more >

Headshot of Dr. Heather Leeper and headshot of Dr. Marta Penas-Prado

Neuro-Oncology Branch Physicians Receive Awards at the Society for Neuro-Oncology Annual Meeting >

Drs. Heather Leeper and Marta Penas-Prado share findings from two NCI-CONNECT studies in award-winning abstracts. Read more >

Hands cupped around a plant growing in the dirt

NCI-CONNECT Initiative Hosts Survivorship Care in Neuro-Oncology Symposium >

Neuro-oncology providers, researchers, advocates, patients, and care partners gathered virtually to discuss the challenges that arise from living with brain and spine tumors. Read more >

Screenshot of James Rogers on Zoom

Patient Outcomes Team Presents at the Symptom Science Advances in Oncology Nursing Conference >

The Neuro-Oncology Branch was well represented at the meeting, with 19 presentations and five awards received throughout the two-day meeting. Read more >

Scientist typing on computer

Neuro-Oncology Branch 2020 Year in Review >

Together, our clinical team, research laboratories, and staff have made meaningful advancements to improve outcomes for patients and families affected by brain and spine tumors. Read more >

Audience of scientists listening to a speaker

Collaborating with the Brain Tumor Trials Collaborative to Improve Care >

In a continuing effort to increase collaboration, the weekly Neuro-Oncology Tumor Board now includes BTTC doctors at remote institutions. Read more >