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CU Cancer Center News and Stories

Brain and Spinal Cancer

Pediatric Cancer    Brain and Spinal Cancer    Cancer    Pediatrics

New Drug Combination Might Better Treat Often Fatal Childhood Brain Tumor

Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have discovered a drug combination that might offer a better prognosis for children diagnosed with MYC amplified Medulloblastoma, an often deadly form of brain cancer. The research was conducted in collaboration with the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) University Hospital Dusseldorf.


Author Laura Kelley | Publish Date January 19, 2023
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Research    Patient Care    Brain and Spinal Cancer

A Wearable Device to Treat Brain Tumors

Thanks in part to clinical trials overseen by researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, a wearable, portable electrical device called Optune is proving successful at treating a type of brain tumor called a glioblastoma.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date September 19, 2022
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Research    Pediatric Cancer    Brain and Spinal Cancer

CU Cancer Center Is Home to One of the Largest Groups of Pediatric Brain Tumor Researchers in the Country

Initially, the big picture looks severe: Pediatric brain tumors are now the number one cause of death for children diagnosed with cancer.

Though leukemia is four times more common in pediatric patients than brain tumors, about 90% of children diagnosed with leukemia will experience a cure “because we’ve done such a good job of researching leukemia, and treatments have come so far that cure rates have improved significantly,” says Rajeev Vibhakar, MD, PhD, MPH, a professor of pediatric hematology and oncology in the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “We need to see that same level of support and advancement in finding cures for pediatric brain tumors.”


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date September 01, 2022
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Research    Brain and Spinal Cancer   

Lipid Nanoparticles Show Significant Promise in Carrying Cancer Drugs to Tumors

Among the biggest obstacles in studying and treating brain tumors are the blood-brain and blood-tumor barriers (BBTB). Generally, just a small amount of drug that is injected into the blood to treat brain tumors is able to penetrate blood vessel walls and accumulate in the brain.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date August 10, 2022
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Brain and Spinal Cancer    Clinical Research   

Recurring Brain Tumors Shaped by Genetic Evolution and Microenvironment

Researchers have discovered that infiltrating gliomas, a common brain and spinal cord tumor, are shaped by their genetic evolution and microenvironment, a finding that could lead to more targeted treatments.


Author David Kelly | Publish Date June 09, 2022
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Research    Awareness    Pediatric Cancer    Brain and Spinal Cancer

Youngest Brain Tumor Patients Have Significantly Poorer Outcomes than Older Pediatric Patients

A University of Colorado (CU) Cancer Center researcher has found, through extensive data analysis, that the youngest patients with brain tumors – those ages birth to 3 months – have about half the five-year survival rate as children ages 1 to 19.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date March 18, 2022
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Patient Care    Community    Brain and Spinal Cancer

Flying High After a Childhood Cancer Battle 

When Myles Krick started his freshman year of college in fall 2021, he couldn’t help but look back to 15 years ago, when he received the brain cancer diagnosis that made his family worry he might not live long enough to go to college. 


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date March 16, 2022
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Press Releases    Pediatric Cancer    Blood Cancer    Brain and Spinal Cancer    Ovarian Cancer

CU Cancer Center Researchers Awarded Grants From V Foundation

Three researchers from the University of Colorado Cancer Center have received grants from the V Foundation, a cancer research nonprofit founded in 1993 by college basketball coach Jimmy Valvano, who died of cancer.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date October 20, 2021
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Research    Brain and Spinal Cancer

Studying Resistance to Therapy in BRAF-Mutated Brain Tumors

Looking to understand why some brain tumors with a specific mutation can start to reject drugs commonly used to treat them, CU Cancer Center member Jean Mulcahy Levy, MD, led researchers from institutions around the country — including several from the University of Colorado School of Medicine — to study samples of brain tumors before and after being treated with the drug.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date September 15, 2021
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Research    Brain and Spinal Cancer   

Study Sheds Light on Mechanism of Liposome Accumulation in Tumors

Dmitri Simberg, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and a CU Cancer Center member, has released the results of a new study of the effectiveness of different types of fluorescent labels used to monitor the accumulation of liposomes in tumors.


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date July 08, 2021
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Research    Pediatric Cancer    Brain and Spinal Cancer

Five CU Cancer Center Researchers Receive Grants to Study Brain Tumors

Three projects from University of Colorado Cancer Center researchers have received grants from the Denver-based Michele Plachy-Rubin Fund for Pilot Grants in Brain Cancer Research. Receiving $40,000 each to fund their work around brain cancer are Sujatha Venkataraman, PhD; and the teams of Philip Reigan, PhD, and Michael Graner, PhD; and Natalie Serkova, PhD, and Nicholas Foreman, MD, MBChB.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date March 04, 2021
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Research    Brain and Spinal Cancer    Cancer

Multi-organizational study aims to improve outcomes of minority children with brain and central nervous system tumors

Black and Hispanic children diagnosed with brain and central nervous system (CNS) cancers have worse outcomes than their white counterparts in the United States. The reasons behind this are unclear but may include socioeconomic factors and/or limited access to quality care. Now, researchers at the University of Colorado (CU) Cancer Center and Children’s Hospital Colorado on the Anschutz Medical Campus are collaborating to better understand these disparities, as well as develop ways to reduce the burden of disease in these populations.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date August 04, 2020
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Brain and Spinal Cancer    Child & Adolescent

Study: Despite failures, chemo still promising against dangerous childhood brain cancer, DIPG

The pediatric brain cancer known as diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is almost uniformly fatal. In part, this is due to where and how it grows, forming as a diffuse net of cells in a part of the brainstem called the pons, which controls essential functions like breathing and swallowing. Another factor that makes DIPG especially dangerous is a lack of treatments – currently, there are no targeted therapies or immunotherapies proven effective to treat the condition, and the many chemotherapy clinical trials seeking to treat DIPG have been uniformly unsuccessful.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date March 25, 2020
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Pediatric Cancer    Brain and Spinal Cancer    Diversity

Post-diagnosis disparities drive poorer outcomes for pediatric Black and Hispanic brain cancer patients

Cancer researchers have known for years that Black and Hispanic patients have worse outcomes than their non-Hispanic White peers. At least when it comes to adults. But few studies have explored these same disparities in pediatric patients, and fewer still have looked for racial/ethnic differences in treatment outcomes in pediatric brain cancer patients.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date March 12, 2020
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Research    Brain and Spinal Cancer

‘Innovative Research Award’ helps CU scientists block brain cancer escape routes

Cancers used to be defined by where they grow in the body – lung cancer, skin cancer, brain cancer, etc. But work in recent decades has shown that cancers sharing specific genetic changes may have more in common than cancers that happen to grow in an area of the body. For example, lung cancers, skin cancers, and brain cancers may all be caused by mutation in a gene called BRAF. And drugs targeting BRAF have changed the treatment landscape for melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer, and are also in use against lung cancers and brain cancers with BRAF mutations.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date January 21, 2020
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Philanthropy    Brain and Spinal Cancer

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation helps Colorado researchers explore single cells within pediatric brain tumors

The technique known as RNA sequencing lets researchers discover which genes are turned on and off in a sample of tissue. In cancer, RNA-seq (as it’s known) is used to find the faulty genes driving the disease. But not all cells within a tumor are the same. Some may have one set of genetic drivers, while other, next-door cancer cells depend on completely different genetic changes. Even the types of cells within tumor tissue may differ, with cancer stem cells intermixed with regular cancer cells intermixed with healthy cells and immune system cells. What this means is that RNA-seq has traditionally been like taking a picture of the rainforest from 10,000 feet: You see a lot of green trees, but many things remain hidden beneath the canopy.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date December 16, 2019
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Research    Honors    Brain and Spinal Cancer

Jean Mulcahy-Levy, MD, earns R01 grant to improve pediatric brain cancer treatment

Jean Mulcahy-Levy, MD, has spent a decade researching how, why and when cells eat themselves. Healthy cells use this process, called autophagy, to recycle unneeded bits of themselves, often to survive periods of stress. Unfortunately, cancer cells use autophagy as well and for similar reasons – autophagy can help cancer cells survive the stress of drugs designed to kill them.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date July 08, 2019
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Patient Care    Brain and Spinal Cancer

Dog Bites Man, Saves Life

Tim Reagan saved Brady’s life, adopting the high-energy rescue dog from a shelter. Within a year, Brady returned the favor.


Author Erika Matich | Publish Date January 03, 2019
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Patient Care    Brain and Spinal Cancer    Clinical Trials

Drummer Finds New Rhythm after CU Cancer Center Clinical Trial

Bob Rupp is a drummer. He works with the best musicians in the world and he’s celebrated for his contributions to the music scene in the Metro Area. There is even a day in his honor in the City and County of Denver.


Author Erika Matich | Publish Date January 31, 2018
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Research    Community    Brain and Spinal Cancer    Cancer

Malaria Drug Successfully Treats 26-year-old Brain Cancer Patient

After her brain cancer became resistant to chemotherapy and then to targeted treatments, 26-year-old Lisa Rosendahl’s doctors gave her only a few months to live. Now a paper published January 17 in the journal eLife describes a new drug combination that has stabilized Rosendahl’s disease and increased both the quantity and quality of her life: Adding the anti-malaria drug chloroquine to her treatment stopped an essential process that Rosendahl’s cancer cells had been using to resist therapy, re-sensitizing her cancer to the targeted treatment that had previously stopped working. Along with Rosendahl, two other brain cancer patients were treated with the combination and both showed similar, dramatic improvement.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date January 17, 2017
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Community    Pediatric Cancer    Brain and Spinal Cancer

Baseball, Brain Tumor and Bravery: Matthew’s Story

When Matthew Murray started experiencing some double vision after school during baseball practice his mother took him to be checked out by an eye doctor. They were told not to be too concerned unless his double vision became constant. Less than two weeks later during a double-header game, Matthew’s double vision would not go away.


Author Taylor Abarca | Publish Date September 09, 2016
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Brain and Spinal Cancer

Dr. Kevin Lillehei, Brain Cancer Surgeon

One morning at 3 am and fairly early in his neurosurgery career at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Dr. Kevin Lillehei got a phone call from Moscow. A mother was frantic about her daughter’s brain tumor. The doctors there had told her that the tumor was malignant and nothing further could be done. She wanted to know if Dr. Lillehei (pronounced Lily-hi) would see her daughter, Darya.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date December 01, 2009
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CU Cancer Center In the News

CPR

Young People Are Getting Colorectal Cancer, Including This Married Couple

news outletCPR
Publish DateMarch 15, 2023

Doctors increasingly see people contracting colon cancer before the recommended screening age of 45.

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KKTV

What Younger Adults Need to Know About Colorectal Cancer

news outletKKTV
Publish DateMarch 14, 2023

Colon cancer is one of the deadliest cancers -- but with early detection is also one of the most survivable. This is why regular screenings are so key.

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Westword

CU to Study How Psilocybin Affects Mental Health of Cancer Patients

news outletWestword
Publish DateMarch 10, 2023

The National Cancer Institute is funding a CU study looking into psilocybin's effect on the emotional and mental suffering of terminal cancer patients.

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The Denver Post

2022 Wings of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Research Grants Are Already at Work

news outletThe Denver Post
Publish DateMarch 10, 2023

Four 2022 Wings of Hope grants are supporting groundbreaking work at the University of Colorado Cancer Center on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.

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