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More About the Brain Tumor Research Center
Home > Neurosurgery Research > BTRC > More About the BTRC
Michael Douglas Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Center
Established in 1999, the Michael Douglas Pediatric BTRC is dedicated to translational research focusing on the biology and therapy of the primary brain tumors that afflict children. In order to understand the causes and origin of brain tumors, both clinical and basic science research programs are supported under the umbrella of this organization. Members of the Pediatric BTRC are those whose research includes topics related to pediatric neuro-oncology. Surgery followed by radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or both is standard therapy for most brain tumors. A tremendous technology-driven evolution in surgical capabilities now permits maximum surgical removal of brain tumors. In the Clinical Neurosurgery Program for Children, there are several areas where technical advances are continuing and are being developed at UCSF.
PBTRC Researchers:
Nalin Gupta MD, PhD
Anuradha Banerjee MD, MPH
Michael D. Prados MD
Advances in Translational Research on Brain Tumors from the BTRC
Since it was founded in 1972, the BTRC-in partnership with the Brain Tumor Center's Clinical Neuro-Oncology Program-has made significant strides in the treatment of brain tumors. Among its contributions, the BTRC:
  • Was a participating center in the recent successful studies of the investigational drug Temodal- the first drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of recurrent malignant gliomas in more than 20 years
  • Was first to measure the effects of BCNU on DNA, the body's genetic building blocks, in order to find out how to overcome the resistance some brain tumors have to this potent antitumor drug
  • Refined and improved brachytherapy techniques, a form of brain tumor therapy in which small "seeds" of radiation are implanted inside the brain tumor so the tumor is treated with radiation from within
  • Pioneered a technique of measuring the polyamines, natural chemical compounds in the body, to determine how fast a patient's tumor is growing
  • Piloted the treatment of brain stem tumors with "hyperfractionated irradiation"-a technique in which radiation therapy is given in several smaller doses until the prescribed amount has been given
  • Was first to advocate that, for some tumors, a lower dose of radiation is just as effective as a high dose, while lower doses reduce the damage radiation may do to normal brain tissues during radiation therapy
  • Developed a test, done at surgery, that determines within a few hours the type of brain tumor a patient has and its potential for malignant growth-a test rapidly adopted by hospitals throughout the world
  • Developed PCV, the first drug combination found that is effective in treating brain tumors
  • Was first to report the effectiveness of BCNU and procarbazine-the most effective drugs known for treating malignant glioma, which is the most common type of brain tumor
Research Opportunities for Trainees
The BTRC offers neurological surgery residents and postdoctoral fellows research opportunities in areas including radiobiology, experimental chemotherapy, pharmacology and pharmacokinetics, molecular biology of brain tumors, biophysics, biochemistry, and cell kinetics. The BTRC also offers opportunities in clinical research and trials through the Neuro-Oncology Program, which treats both adult and pediatric patients. BTRC faculty and staff have trained over 150 graduate students, residents, and postdoctoral fellows since 1972 and have published over 2000 articles in scientific journals. In conjunction with its training program, the BTRC has weekly research conferences, seminars, and journal clubs.
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