The Broach Foundation for Brain Cancer Research is proud to support its grant recipient, Dr. Frederick Lang, the Director of Clinical Research in the Department of Neurosurgery at MD Anderson, and our Inaugural Broach Scholars.
Donations from The Broach Foundation for Brain Cancer Research have supported the clinical and translational research of Frederick Lang, MD and his colleagues in the Brain Tumor Center at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Lang’s group has focused on “biological therapies,” a new class of anticancer therapies that include viruses, stem cells, exosomes, and microRNA. Dr. Lang and his team of scientists have used state-of-the-art techniques to “reprogram” these biological agents so that they can effectively kill brain cancers. Donations from the Broach Foundation have resulted in groundbreaking discoveries, including:
- First clinical trial showing that DNX-2401, a common cold virus designed as a “smart bomb” for brain tumors, is highly effective against the most aggressive brain cancers.
- First laboratory studies demonstrating that DNX-2401 activates the immune system and may “vaccinate” patients against their brain tumors, thereby driving the new field of “viro-immunotherapy”.
- First clinical trial in which stem cells were successfully harvested from the bone marrow of patients with brain tumors and then shown in laboratory models to target brain tumors after injection into the blood stream, thereby establishing bone marrow stem cells as effective vehicles for intravenously delivering biological therapies to brain tumors.
- First-time development of exosomes (natural nanoparticles) containing cancer killing microRNAs (small pieces of RNA that regulate cell growth) as therapeutic agents to fight cancer.
- Production of a unique “bank” of brain cancer cell lines that are derived directly from patient tumors and express the same genetic mutations as the patient tumor; these have been used to test drugs that attack the genetic mutations found in each cell line, thereby validating the concept of “precision cancer medicine”.
The Lang Laboratory collaborates with the following MDACC Departments:
Department of Neuro-Oncology | Dr. Charles Conrad and Dr. Juan Fueyo Department of Pathology | Dr. Ken Aldape Department of Blood and Marrow Transplant | Dr. Micahel Andreef Radiation Oncology | Dr. Eric Sulman
The Broach Foundation has also funded projects of two investigators through the MD Anderson Brain Cancer Special Program in Research Excellence (SPORE). These scientists have been designated as “Broach Scholars”:
Jian Hu, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Cancer Biology,
for his project entitled “The Role of RNA Binding Protein Qk in Gliomagenesis.” In this project, Dr. Hu will examine, in a unique animal model, how a new protein he has discovered drives brain tumor formation.
Zhimin Lu, PhD, Professor, Department of Neuro-Oncology,
for his project entitled “Deciphering the Role of Mitochondrial PGK1 in Glioblastoma Development.” In this project Dr. Lu will study new mechanisms defining how tumor cells use nutrients such as glucose to promote their growth compared with normal cells.
The grant application process is by invitation only.