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CU Cancer Center News and Stories

Brain and Spinal Cancer

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

Radiology Business

AI Reads of Neck Ultrasounds Could Displace Thyroid Biopsies

news outletRadiology Business
Publish DateJune 15, 2022

After training a machine learning model to analyze ultrasound images of the neck, researchers tested their algorithm and have found it correctly flagged 97% of likely cancerous nodules of the thyroid gland.

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News Medical

Ultrasound-Based AI Classifier of Thyroid Nodules Can Help Rule Out Cancer, Avoid Unnecessary Biopsies

news outletNews Medical
Publish DateJune 14, 2022

Artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to identify thyroid nodules seen on thyroid ultrasound that are very unlikely to be cancerous, reducing a large number of unnecessary biopsies.

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The Scientist

Genetic Mutations Can Be Benign or Cancerous—a New Method to Differentiate Between Them Could Lead to Better Treatments

news outletThe Scientist
Publish DateMay 31, 2022

A CU Cancer Center researcher recently published a study using DNA from thousands of healthy people to help identify disease-causing mutations by using the principle of natural selection.

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Dermatology Times

Sun Bus Helps Bust Melanoma Misconceptions, Provide Screenings

news outletDermatology Times
Publish DateMay 23, 2022

Run by the Colorado Melanoma Foundation, the Sun Bus has provided more than 3,500 free skin cancer screenings throughout the central and southwestern United States. Along the way, providers are learning about melanoma misconceptions.

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