Brain Tumor Research Center

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Brain Tumor Research Center


In 2010, the Barrow Brain Tumor Research Center (BBTRC) was founded in an effort to synergize Barrow’s neurosurgical and neuroscience expertise and integrate the scientific assets of Phoenix and the state of Arizona. Since then, we have remained dedicated to our goal of offering an experimental therapy option to every patient diagnosed with a brain tumor.


Clinical Trials

Several new clinical trials are on the horizon for brain tumor patients. The BBTRC continues to enroll patients on the Barrow 5-ALA Intraoperative Confocal Evaluation (BALANCE) Study. The protocol is being used to examine the efficacy of 5-ALA tumor fluorescence for identifying infiltrating gliomas intraoperatively and thereby improving the extent of resection. Over 100 patients have been randomized in the study since November 2010.

Summer 2012 also saw the initiation of two immunotherapy vaccine trials offered at the BBTRC, one specifically designed for patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma (ACT IV), while an alternate trial is available for patients with evidence of first- or second- relapsed glioblastoma (ReACT). These trials focus on a specific subtype of glioblastoma with the EGFRvIII mutation.


Ivy Glioblastoma Atlas Project

The BBTRC has joined the Ivy Glioblastoma Atlas Project, an established collaborative partnership between the Swedish Neuroscience Institute (SNI), the Allen Institute for Brain Science (AI) and the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation in an effort to develop an unprecedented platform for exploring the anatomic and genetic basis of glioblastoma at the cellular and molecular levels. The project will produce the first GBM “gene expression” atlas, an online resource which will serve as a blueprint of the brain to illustrate how abnormal genes act compared to normal genes when a malignant tumor is present.


Laboratory Research

  • Dr. Anna Joy's research focuses on using the molecular subtype classification system for glioblastomas that she developed to predict tumor agressiveness and identify new therapeutic agents. She is also working to elucidate a way to therapeutically target the growth-promoting, cancer-causing PI3K/AKT pathway. Visit the Joy Laboratory home page.

  • Dr. Adrienne Scheck's research focuses on developing novel therapies that can be used to augment traditional treatments for brain tumors. She also investigates why current treatment sometimes fail. Visit the Scheck Laboratory home page.

  • Dr. Shwetal Mehta’s research focuses on understanding neural progenitor/stem cells during human development and also their role in brain cancer. Her work will complement ongoing basic science research in cancer stem cells (Sanai laboratory) and nanoparticle drug delivery (Sirianni laboratory). Visit the Mehta Laboratory home page.

  • Dr. Nader Sanai's research focuses on the use of new surgical modalities to enhance and maximize the resection of brain tumors while minimizing impact on noncancerous neural structures. Visit the Sanai Laboratory home page.

  • Dr. Rachael Sirianni's research focuses on using polymers and nanotechnology to improve the ability of pharmaceutical oncolytic agents to cross the blood brain barrier and thereby improve efficacy. Visit the Sirianni Laboratory home page.

In the years to come, the Barrow Brain Tumor Research Center anticipates further expansion of its translational research efforts, clinical trials, and research faculty development.

Note: We are actively seeking new principal investigators.

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Barrow Neurological Institute
350 W. Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85013
(602) 406-3000