Brain Cancer Research

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Ben and Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment

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Brain cancer research at The Ben & Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment focuses on:

  • Helping people in treatment today live longer and fuller lives
  • Improving treatment outcomes in the future
  • Finding a cure for brain cancer

Toward these goals, the Ivy Center has developed a world-class research facility on-site. Numerous research efforts are underway, including work to isolate cancer stem cells, which have been found to be particularly resistant to standard treatments.

The Ivy Center collaborates with the nation's leading cancer researchers, partners with biotech companies, and conducts clinical trials on promising new brain cancer treatments.

Genetic Testing of Brain Tumors
Collaborating with Renowned Scientists
Ivy Glioblastoma Atlas Project

Genetic testing of brain tumors

Under a microscope, all tumors look alike. But at the genomic level, there are tremendous differences. Each person's DNA has a unique genetic makeup, much like having unique fingerprints.

Using the remarkable technology at the Ivy Center research laboratory, scientists are able to look at the 30,000 genes in an individual's tumor. This information provides valuable clues as to which genes are stimulating that tumor's growth – and how to fight against them.

Each malignant brain tumor removed at the Ivy Center is tested in the research center. This work already influences the design of each patient's treatment plan, and has tremendous potential for the future.

Collaborating with Renowned Scientists

Every tumor taken to the laboratory also becomes part of a tumor bank and a genomic database that is helping brain cancer researchers across the country in their quest to cure brain cancer.

This genomic data base – now one of the largest brain tumor research projects in the country – was developed in collaboration with the renowned Institute for Systems Biology (ISB).

This collaboration brings together physicians and scientists in the fields of neurosurgery, neuropathology, systems biology, genomics and biostatistical analysis. Together they study how genes and proteins interact in brain cancer, and focus on developing early diagnostic tools and better treatments.

Essential to this work is ongoing collaboration with the Allen Institute for Brain Science. The Allen Institute has created genetic maps of healthy brain tissue that the Ivy Brain Tumor Center uses daily to compare with genetic maps of brain cancer tumors.

Ivy Glioblastoma Atlas Project

The Ivy Glioblastoma Atlas Project, a major research initiative focusing on mapping the gene activity in brain tumors, was launched in 2009. The four-year project is a partnership between the Allen Institute, the Ivy Center and The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation.

The Ivy Glioblastoma Atlas Project will show – at a much higher level of detail than currently possible – which genes are not functioning normally within a glioblastoma tumor. The goal is to improve diagnosis and treatment options to help patients live longer and fuller lives.

All tissue samples for the Atlas Project are provided by patients at the Ivy Center.  When complete, information from the mapping project will be available for free to researchers around the world.