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BTP Quarterly Update

December 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:
Save the date for our Fifth Minnesota Neuro-Oncology Symposium, May 17-18, 2021, held virtually!
Dr. Andrew Venteicher
Andrew Venteicher recently received the generous Sontag Foundation Distinguished Scientist Award.
Outside of the Hormel Institute building
Charles Day, James Robinson, and Edward “Ted” Hinchcliffe of The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota were awarded the Marit Mary Swenson Award for Pediatric DMG/DIPG from the Society for Neuro-Oncology
Picture of Dr. David Largaespada
David Largaespada was featured in the article "Decades-Long Friendship Leads to $1.4M Donation to UMN Researcher" on the University of Minnesota website, October 19, 2020.
Screenshot of linked video showing the face of Amanda Haddock
Logan Spector was featured in the video "Our Vision for the Childhood Cancer Data Initiative" on the National Cancer Institute's YouTube page, September 30, 2020.
stock photo of two scientists looking at an ipad next to a microscope
Emil Lou's article "Tailoring the Understanding & Re-Education of Precision Oncology" was featured in Oncology Times 42:22(18-19).
stock image xray of infant
Logan Spector was featured in the article "Birth Defects' Cancer Risk Persists Into Adulthood" on MedPage Today, December 4, 2020.
Logan Spector was featured in the article "New Pediatric Cancer Study Focuses on Possible Genetic Risk Factors for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia" on the University of Minnesota website, October 29, 2020.
Drs. Doug Yee and Mark Applebaum
Douglas Yee was featured in "Helping Kids Conquer" on the podcast Your Stories: Behind the Breakthroughs.


Lindsay Williams gave a presentation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Global Public Health, Department of Epidemiology's Cancer Epidemiology Seminar Series titled "Sex Difference in Childhood Cancer Incidence, Survival, and Tumor Biology."

David Largaespada gave a presentation at the Immuno-Oncology Translational Network meeting, October 27, 2020.

Edward Hinchcliffe gave a presentation at the Plenary Session of the Society for Neuro-Oncology Meeting (Virtual) titled "Suppression of Histone H3.3 Mitotic Phosphorylation Drives Development of H3K27M-Mutant Diffuse Midline Gliomas," November 21, 2020.

David Odde gave a seminar at the Flatiron Institute, NYC, November 23, 2020.

Lindsey Sloan gave a presentation at the Masonic Cancer Center Seminar Series titled "Radiation Immunodynamics in the Treatment of Patients with Glioblastoma," October 6, 2020.

Christopher Wilke and Davis Seelig gave a presentation the 2020 American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Annual Forum titled "Prognostic Utility of Computed Tomography Radiomic Features for Canine Lung Tumors: an Analytical Study."

Lindsey Sloan gave a presentation at the Breast Cancer Translational Group Talk, titled "Myeloid Cells and the Immunologic Response to Radiation Therapy."

Lindsey Sloan gave four new lectures as part of the Cancer Biology Lecture series as well as three new lectures at Faculty Presenter for CNS Radiation Oncology Resident Didactics.

Lindsey Sloan served as instructor for the University of Minnesota graduate course "Radiation Biology," Fall 2020 semester.



Andrew Venteicher has received a generous Sontag Foundation Distinguished Scientist Award.

Edward Hinchcliffe has received an R01 Grant for the project "Working Towards Targeted Therapy in H3K27M Tumors: Aurora Kinase Inhibitors and the Role of Epigenome Programming."

Steve Jameson has received an NIH Grant.


No new clinical trials to report


Sadeghzadeh M, Wenzel B, Gündel D, Deuther-Conrad W, Toussaint M, Moldovan RP, Fischer S, Ludwig FA, Teodoro R, Jonnalagadda S, Jonnalagadda SK, Schüürmann G, Mereddy VR, Drewes LR, Brust P. "Development of Novel Analogs of the Monocarboxylate Transporter Ligand FACH and Biological Validation of One Potential Radiotracer for Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Imaging." Molecules. 2020 May 14;25(10):2309. doi: 10.3390/molecules25102309. PMID: 32423056; PMCID: PMC7288138.

Felices M, Lenvik TR, Kodal B, Lenvik AJ, Hinderlie P, Bendzick LE, Schirm DK, Kaminski MF, McElmurry RT, Geller MA, Eckfeldt CE, Vallera DA, Miller JS. "Potent Cytolytic Activity and Specific IL15 Delivery in a Second-Generation Trispecific Killer Engager." Cancer Immunol Res. 2020 Sep;8(9):1139-1149. doi: 10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-19-0837. Epub 2020 Jul 13. PMID: 32661096; PMCID: PMC7484162.

Vallera DA, Ferrone S, Kodal B, Hinderlie P, Bendzick L, Ettestad B, Hallstrom C, Zorko NA, Rao A, Fujioka N, Ryan CJ, Geller MA, Miller JS, Felices M. "NK-Cell-Mediated Targeting of Various Solid Tumors Using a B7-H3 Tri-Specific Killer Engager In Vitro and In Vivo." Cancers (Basel). 2020 Sep 18;12(9):2659. doi: 10.3390/cancers12092659. PMID: 32961861; PMCID: PMC7564091.

Özütemiz C, Neil EC, Tanwar M, Rubin NT, Ozturk K, Cayci Z. "The Role of Dual-Phase FDG PET/CT in the Diagnosis and Follow-Up of Brain Tumors." AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2020 Oct;215(4):985-996. doi: 10.2214/AJR.19.22571. Epub 2020 Aug 25. PMID: 32841063; PMCID: PMC7680250.

Hui JYC, Yuan J, Teoh D, Thomaier L, Jewett P, Beckwith H, Parsons H, Lou E, Blaes AH, Vogel RI. "Cancer Management during the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States: Results from a National Physician Cross-Sectional Survey." Am J Clin Oncol. 2020 Oct;43(10):679-684. doi: 10.1097/COC.0000000000000757. PMID: 32852291; PMCID: PMC7513953.

Mansouri S, Suppiah S, Mamatjan Y, Paganini I, Liu JC, Karimi S, Patil V, Nassiri F, Singh O, Sundaravadanam Y, Rath P, Sestini R, Gensini F, Agnihotri S, Blakeley J, Ostrow K, Largaespada D, Plotkin SR, Stemmer-Rachamimov A, Ferrer MM, Pugh TJ, Aldape KD, Papi L, Zadeh G. "Epigenomic, Genomic, and Transcriptomic Landscape of Schwannomatosis." Acta Neuropathol. 2020 Oct 6. doi: 10.1007/s00401-020-02230-x. Epub ahead of print. Erratum in: Acta Neuropathol. 2020 Oct 28;: PMID: 33025139.

Sun L, Chen L, Zhu H, Li Y, Chen CC, Li M. "FHL1 Promotes Glioblastoma Aggressiveness through Regulating EGFR Expression." FEBS Lett. 2020 Oct 14. doi: 10.1002/1873-3468.13955. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33053208.

Gessler DJ, Ferreira C, Dusenbery K, Chen CC. "GammaTile®: Surgically Targeted Radiation Therapy for Glioblastomas." Future Oncol. 2020 Oct;16(30):2445-2455. doi: 10.2217/fon-2020-0558. Epub 2020 Jul 3. PMID: 32618209.

Greengard E, Mosse YP, Liu X, Minard CG, Reid JM, Voss S, Wilner K, Fox E, Balis F, Blaney SM, Adamson PC, Weigel BJ. "Safety, Tolerability and Pharmacokinetics of Crizotinib in Combination with Cytotoxic Chemotherapy for Pediatric Patients with Refractory Solid Tumors or Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL): A Children's Oncology Group Phase 1 Consortium Study (ADVL1212)." Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2020 Dec;86(6):829-840. doi: 10.1007/s00280-020-04171-4. Epub 2020 Oct 23. PMID: 33095287.

Lou E, Teoh D, Brown K, Blaes A, Holtan SG, Jewett P, Parsons H, Mburu EW, Thomaier L, Hui JYC, Nelson HH, Vogel RI. "Perspectives of Cancer Patients and Their Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic." PLoS One. 2020 Oct 30;15(10):e0241741. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0241741. PMID: 33125442; PMCID: PMC7598454.

Chaney KE, Perrino MR, Kershner LJ, Patel AV, Wu J, Choi K, Rizvi TA, Dombi E, Szabo S, Largaespada DA, Ratner N. "Cdkn2a Loss in a Model of Neurofibroma Demonstrates Stepwise Tumor Progression to Atypical Neurofibroma and MPNST." Cancer Res. 2020 Nov 1;80(21):4720-4730. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-19-1429. Epub 2020 Aug 19. PMID: 32816910.

Walker SA, Pham A, Nizzero S, Kim M, Riter B, Bletz J, Judge S, Phillips B, Noble D, Murray D, Wetzel E, Samson S, McMahon M, Flink C, Couch J, Tomlin C, Swanson K, Anderson ARA, Odde D, Shen H, Hughes S, Zahir N, Enderling H, Wolfram J. "Education and Outreach in Physical Sciences in Oncology." Trends Cancer. 2020 Nov 6:S2405-8033(20)30281-8. doi: 10.1016/j.trecan.2020.10.007. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33168416.

Thomaier L, Teoh D, Jewett P, Beckwith H, Parsons H, Yuan J, Blaes AH, Lou E, Hui JYC, Vogel RI. "Emotional Health Concerns of Oncology Physicians in the United States: Fallout during the COVID-19 Pandemic." PLoS One. 2020 Nov 24;15(11):e0242767. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0242767. PMID: 33232377; PMCID: PMC7685431.

Haizel-Cobbina J, Spector LG, Moertel C, Parsons HM. "Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Survival of Children with Brain and Central Nervous Tumors in the United States." Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2021 Jan;68(1):e28738. doi: 10.1002/pbc.28738. Epub 2020 Sep 24. PMID: 32970937.


Exciting work is being done at UMN in genetically engineered T-Cells. Emil Lou was featured in the article "Clinical Trial to Test CRISPR-Modified T-Cells in Treating Advanced Cancers" in Immuno-Oncology News, November 20, 2020. We're looking forward to seeing how this can translate to treating brain tumors.
Graph showing effectivness of unknown drug against COVID over time
David Odde is not only using his data modeling work to fight brain tumors; he's jumped in to help fight COVID-19, too. His work on medication effectiveness probability was featured in "The Audacity to Do Something" in Discovery Magazine, Fall 2020.
Join us at the inaugural Cancer Center Survivorship Research Forum as we explore the needs and care of cancer survivors, hear from expert clinicians and researchers, and network and collaborate in a hybrid format. Learn more at

Past Events

Sep 26, 9:00 AM - BT5K Kick-Off Event
Oct. 8 - BTP Seminar Series, Ming Li
Oct 10, 5:00 PM - BT5K Celebration
Nov. 12 - BTP Seminar Series, Pavlina Sverak
Dec. 10 - BTP Seminar Series, Julie Bennett

Upcoming Events

Jan 14 - BTP Seminar Series, TBD
Feb 11 - BTP Seminar Series, TBD
Mar 11 - BTP Seminar Series, Andrew Venteicher
April 8 - BTP Seminar Series, TBD
April 15-16 - Cancer Center Survivorship Research Forum
May 13 - BTP Seminar Series TBD
May 17-18 - BTP Neuro-Oncology Symposium
June 10 - BTP Seminar Series, Lindsey Sloan

Highlights & Awards

Malgorzata Marjanska has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to France for Research in Medical Sciences

Brenda Weigel has been appointed the new chair of the CureSearch Scientific Advisory Council and co-chaired the CureSearch Pediatric Early Development Virtual Symposium, October 1-2, 2020.

Drs. Charles Day, James Robinson, and Edward “Ted” Hinchcliffe are the winners of the Society for Neuro-Oncology's 2020 Marit Mary Swenson Award for Pediatric DMG/DIPG research.

Michael Olin was appointed to the new Scientific Advisory Board of Why We Vaccinate, Inc., a non-profit organization devoted to vaccine advocacy and information.

Matt Berkseth, PhD, has accepted the position of lab manager for the new Sloan Lab and will start February 8, 2021.
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