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BTP Quarterly Update

June 2020

The mission of the University of Minnesota Brain Tumor Program (UMBTP) is to continually distinguish itself as a national leader in the field of neuro-oncology by combining the principles of outstanding clinical care and education with cutting edge research.

The group consists of many dedicated researchers and clinicians of numerous disciplines and specialties. These disciplines and specialties include - but are not limited to - cancer genetics, neuro-oncology, neurosurgery, pharmacy, biomedical engineering, and veterinary medicine. 

Here's what we've been up to for the last few months:
OX2 Therapeutics, Inc. has received clearance from the FDA to launch a Phase I clinical trial with its new combination therapy for treatment of recurrent high-grade brain tumors for which no curative therapy is available. Christopher Moertel is the Chief Medical Officer and Michael Olin the Chief Scientific Officer of OX2 Therapeutics. Elizabeth Neil will be the PI of the adult clinical trial and Emily Greengard will be the PI of the pediatric clinical trial.
Clark Chen was highlighted in the article "Young Glioblastoma Patient Achieves Stunning Results from Clinical Trial at the U" on the U of MN website, May 11, 2020.
David Odde was highlighted in the video "Research Spotlight: Simulator to Predict COVID-19 Trial Outcomes" on the UMN College of Science and Engineering YouTube account, April 14, 2020.
Clark Chen was highlighted in the article "University of Minnesota Researchers Study Radiation Resistance in Brain Cancer Cells" on EurekAlert, May 14, 2020.
Jian-Ping Wang was highlighted in the article "U of M Researchers Develop New Portable Coronovirus Testing Device" on the KSTP News website, April 22, 2020. 


David Largaespada gave the Minnesota Epigenetics Consortium seminar, March 19, 2020

Emil Lou chaired the 2020 Inovitro Users Annual Meeting online, April 25, 2020.

Christopher Moertel et al. presented the ASCO Meeting Podium Presentation, "Dabrafenib + Trametinib Combination Therapy in Pediatric Patients with BRAF V600-Mutant Low-Grade Glioma: Safety and Efficacy Results," May 2020.

Julia Nikrad, from the Largaespada Lab, presented at the Children's Tumor Foundation's 2020 NF Virtual Conference, "Oncolytic Adenovirus as a Therapy for Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors
," June 15, 2020.


David Odde has received an NHI Grant for the project "Overcoming Leukemia Chemoresistance in the Central Nervous System."

Elizabeth Pluhar has received a grant from NIH SBIR and Creosalus for the project "Catheter for Large Volume Intraparenchymal Brain Therapies

Elizabeth Pluhar has received a grant from The Marcus Foundation and Duke University for the project "Evaluating the Safety of the Tumor Monorail in a Companion Canine Model

Elizabeth Pluhar has received a grant from the Randy Shaver Cancer Research & Community Fund for the project "Zika Virus-Based Immunotherapy for Treating Malignant Brain Tumors: FDA Enabling Studies

Elizabeth Pluhar has received a grant from the University of Minnesota CTSI and Mayo Clinic CCaTS Translational Product Development Fund for the project "Development of an APOBEC3B-Modified Vaccine, in Combination with Checkpoint Inhibition, for the Treatment of Adult Human and Companion Animal Canine Glioblastoma

Christopher Wilke has received a University of Minnesota Grant-in-Aid for the project "Development of a Predictive Model of Glioblastoma for Patient-Specific Prognosis and Therapeutic Intervention."


COG ACNS1831 - A Phase 3 Randomized Study of Selumetinib (IND # 77782) versus Carboplatin/Vincristine in Newly Diagnosed or Previously Untreated Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) Associated Low-Grade Glioma (LGG) - Sponsor, Children's Oncology Group

A Phase 2b Trial of the MEK 1/2 Inhibitor (MEKi) PD-0325901 in Adult and Pediatric Patients with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1)-Associated Inoperable Plexiform Neurofibromas (PNs) that are Causing Significant Morbidity, Sponsor, SpringWorks Therapeutics


Savani M, Gencturk M, Shanley R, Cayci Z, Wilke C, Warlick ED, He F, Janakiram M, Weisdorf DJ, Brunstein CG, Bachanova V. "Surveillance Imaging after Autologous Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Predicts Survival in Patients with Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma." Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2020 Feb;26(2):272-277. doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2019.10.013. PMID: 31669174.

Thyagarajan B, Nelson HH, Poynter JN, Prizment AE, Roesler MA, Cassidy E, Putnam S, Amos L, Hickle A, Reilly C, Spector LG, Lazovich D. "Field Application of Digital Technologies for Health Assessment in the 10,000 Families Study." Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2020 Apr;29(4):744-751. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-0858. PMID: 32132151.

Zaid M, Koay EJ, Bajaj N, Mathew R, Xiao L, Agrawal A, Fernandes P, Burrows H, Roach MA, Wilke CT, Chung C, Fuller CD, Phan J, Gunn GB, Morrison WH, Garden AS, Frank SJ, Rosenthal DI, Andersen M, Otun A, Chambers MS. "A Prospective Parallel Design Study Testing Non-Inferiority of Customized Oral Stents Made Using 3D Printing or Manually Fabricated Methods." Oral Oncol. 2020 Apr 13;106:104665. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2020.104665. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32298994.

Gampa G, Kenchappa RS, Mohammad AS, Parrish KE, Kim M, Crish JF, Luu A, West R, Hinojosa AQ, Sarkaria JN, Rosenfeld SS, Elmquist WF. "Enhancing Brain Retention of a KIF11 Inhibitor Significantly Improves its Efficacy in a Mouse Model of Glioblastoma." Sci Rep. 2020 Apr 16;10(1):6524. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-63494-7. PMID: 32300151; PMCID: PMC7162859.

Williams KB, Largaespada DA. "New Model Systems and the Development of Targeted Therapies for the Treatment of Neurofibromatosis Type 1-Associated Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors." Genes (Basel). 2020 Apr 28;11(5):E477. doi: 10.3390/genes11050477. PMID: 32353955.

Lou E, Beg S, Bergsland E, Eng C, Khorana A, Kopetz S, Lubner S, Saltz L, Shankaran V, Zafar SY. "Modifying Practices in GI Oncology in the Face of COVID-19: Recommendations From Expert Oncologists on Minimizing Patient Risk." JCO Oncol Pract. 2020 Apr 30:OP2000239. doi: 10.1200/OP.20.00239. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32352884.

Karalexi MA, Dessypris N, Ma X, Spector LG, Marcotte E, Clavel J, Pombo-de-Oliveira MS, Heck JE, Roman E, Mueller BA, Hansen J, Auvinen A, Lee PC, Schüz J, Magnani C, Mora AM, Dockerty JD, Scheurer ME, Wang R, Bonaventure A, Kane E, Doody DR; NARECHEM-ST Group; FRECCLE Group, Erdmann F, Kang AY, Metayer C, Milne E, Petridou ET. "Age-, Sex- and Disease Subtype-Related Foetal Growth Differentials in Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukaemia Risk: A Childhood Leukemia International Consortium Analysis." Eur J Cancer. 2020 May;130:1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2020.01.018. PMID: 32163883.

Williams LA, Moertel CL, Richardson M, Marcotte EL. "Incidence of Second Malignancies in Individuals Diagnosed with Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors." J Neurooncol. 2020 May;147(3):701-709. doi: 10.1007/s11060-020-03478-9. PMID: 32239432.

Thakar T, Leung W, Nicolae CM, Clements KE, Shen B, Bielinsky AK, Moldovan GL. "Ubiquitinated-PCNA Protects Replication Forks from DNA2-Mediated Degradation by Regulating Okazaki Fragment Maturation and Chromatin Assembly." Nat Commun. 2020 May 1;11(1):2147. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-16096-w. PMID: 32358495; PMCID: PMC7195461.

Sandberg DI, Kharas N, Yu B, Janssen CF, Trimble A, Ballester LY, Patel R, Mohammad AS, Elmquist WF, Sirianni RW. "High-dose MTX110 (Soluble Panobinostat) Safely Administered into the Fourth Ventricle in a Nonhuman Primate Model." J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2020 May 1:1-9. doi: 10.3171/2020.2.PEDS19786. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32357333.

Lou E, Subramanian S. "Changing Oncology Treatment Paradigms in the COVID-19 Pandemic." Clin Colorectal Cancer. 2020 May 14. doi: 10.1016/j.clcc.2020.05.002. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32419776; PMCID: PMC7224660.

Tan SJ, Chang AC, Anderson SM, Miller CM, Prahl LS, Odde DJ, Dunn AR. "Regulation and Dynamics of Force Transmission at Individual Cell-Matrix Adhesion Bonds." Sci Adv. 2020 May 15;6(20):eaax0317. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aax0317. PMID: 32440534; PMCID: PMC7228748.

Kizy S, Altman AM, Wirth KM, Marmor S, Hui JYC, Tuttle TM, Lou E, Amin K, Denbo JW, Jensen EH. "Systemic Therapy without Radiation May Be Appropriate as Neoadjuvant Therapy for Localized Pancreas Cancer." HBSN. 2020 June;9(3):296-303. doi: 10.21037/hbsn.2019.04.17.

Koga T, Furnari FB, Chen CC. "Genome Engineering Evolves Brain Tumor Modeling." Neurol Med Chir. In press 2020. 

Yu S, Yu X, Sun L, Zheng Y, Chen L, Xu H, Jin J, Lan Q, Chen CC, *Li M. "GBP2 Enhances Glioblastoma Invasion through Stat3/Fibronectin Pathway." Oncogene. In press 2020.

Past Events

May 14 - BTP Seminar Series, Joseline Haizel-Cobbina
June 11 - BTP Seminar Series, Renata Saha

Upcoming Events

July 9 - BTP Seminar Series, Florina Grigore
Aug. 13 - BTP Seminar Series, Lindsey Sloan
Sep. 10 - BTP Seminar Series, Jianfang Ning
Oct. 8 - BTP Seminar Series, Ming Li
Nov. 12 - BTP Seminar Series, TBD
Dec. 10 - BTP Seminar Series, Andrew Venteicher

Highlights & Recognitions

Kathryn Dusenbery received a GammaTile award in recognition of her commitment to innovation and patient care. 

Daniel Harki has been appointed to the leadership team of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota’s Cellular Mechanisms Program, where he will join Dr. Carol Lange.

Emil Lou was one of ~15 physicians nationwide recently admitted into the highly selective American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Leadership Development Program. 

Emil Lou and his research collaborators at City of Hope Medical Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center were one of four groups invited by Cell Press to feature their work as part of the Cell Picture Show for Cancer Research Week. 

Sara Osum received the 2020 Boehringer Ingelheim Research Award for Graduate Veterinarians. She's a DVM/PhD student in David Largaespada's lab.

Christopher Wilke was named one of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine's 2020 Top Docs: Rising Stars.
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