News from our Team


June 2017:

Diamond EL, Prigerson HG, Correa DC, Reiner A, Panageas K, Kryza-Lacombe M, Buthorn J, Neil EC, Miller AM, DeAngelis LM, Applebaum AJ. "Prognostic Awareness, Prognostic Communication, and Cognitive Function in Patients with Malignant Glioma." Neuro Oncology. 2017 June 22. Epub ahead of print.

Gampa G, Vaidhyanathan S, Sarkaria JN, Elmquist WF. "Drug delivery to melanoma brain metastases: Can current challenges lead to new opportunities?" Pharmacological Research. 2017 June 17; 123:10-25.

Das P, Goyal T, Hunt MA. "Intrathoracic meningocele associated with neurofibromatosis Type 1 and a novel technique for surgical repair: case report." Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. 2017 June 16: 1-4.

Oral Presentations from members at Children's Tumor Foundation Neurofibromatosis Conference:

  • Exploiting novel vulnerabilities in NF1-associated tumorigenesis: A small molecule screen identifies compounds capable of selectively killing NF1 deficient human Schwann cells.
    • Kyle B Williams PhD1, Rory L Williams BS1, Sam A Finnerty BS1, Adrienne L Watson PhD2, Sue Rathe PhD1, Jon Hawkinson PhD1, Gunda Georg PhD1, Christopher L Moertel MD1, David A Largaespada PhD1, 1University of Minnesota, 2Recombinetics Inc.
  • A Swine Model of Neurofibromatosis Type I
    • Adrienne L Watson PhD2, Sara Isakson DVM1, Alex Coutts BS2, Kyle Williams PhD1, Rory Williams BS1, Daniel F Carlson PhD2, Christopher L Moertel MD1, Scott C Fahrenkrug2, David A Largaespada PhD11University of Minnesota, 2Recombinetics Inc.
  • NF1 Associated Dystrophic Scoliosis: Standardization of Diagnostic Criteria and Prediction Using Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism Markers
    • Christopher L Moertel MD1, David W Polly1, Ann M Brearley1, Alvin H Crawford2, Daniel J Sucato3, Leah Carreon4, A Noelle Larson5, David Stevenson6, Michael Vitale7, Charles Ledonio11University of Minnesota, 2University of Cincinnati, 3Texas Scottish Rite Hospital (UT Southwestern), 4University of Louisville, 5Mayo Clinic, 6Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford, 7Columbia University.

Poster Presentations from members at Children's Tumor Foundation Neurofibromatosis Conference:

  • Perturbation of the Hyaluronan-Rich Nerve Sheath Tumor Microenvironment to Improve Drug Efficacy and Delivery
    • Bryant J Keller BS1, Adrienne Watson PhD2, Kyle Williams PhD1, Rory Williams BS1, Leah Anderson BS1, Marjorie Carlson BS1, Justin Knight BS1, Colleen Forster BS3, Kwangmin Choi BS4, Nancy Ratner PhD4, Co-Senior: Paolo Provenzano PhD1, Co-Senior: David Largaespada PhD1. Affiliations: 1University of Minnesota, 2Recombinetics Inc., 3BioNet, 4Cincinnati Children's Hospital
  • The University of Minnesota Experience with Bevacizumab for Treatment of NF2-Associated Vetibular Schwannomas
    • Christopher L Moertel MD, Pavlina Sverak, Samuel C Levine, Meredith E Adams, Tina C Huang, Stephen J Haines, Katherine Sommer; University of Minnesota.

Several members of the University of Minnesota Brain Tumor Program attended the Annual Step Up for NF Fundraiser Walk hosted by NF Upper Midwest on Saturday, June 17, 2017 at Lake Como.

Mekhdjian AH, Kai F, Rubashkin MG, Prahl LS, Przybyla LM, McGregor AL, Bell ES, Barnes JM, DuFort CC, Ou G, Chang AC, Cassereau L, Tan SJ, Pickup MW, Lakins JN, Ye X, Davidson MW, Lammerding J, Odde DJ, Dunn AR, Weaver VM. "Integrin-mediated traction force enhances paxillin molecular associations and adhesion dynamics that increase the invasiveness of tumor cells into a three-dimensional extracellular matrix." Molecular Biology of the Cell 2017 June 1; 28(11): 1467-1488.

May 2017:

Bangasser BL, Shamsan GA, Chan CE, Opoku KN, Tuzel E, Schlichtmann BW, Kasim JA, McCullough BR, Rosenfeld SS, Odde DJ. "Shifting the optimal stiffness for cell migration." Nature Communications 2017 May 22; 8: 15313.

Mike Olin, PhD invited to give the Neurosurgery Grand Rounds at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus on May 9th. "Targeting the CD200 Checkpoint Blockade: A New Avenue for Immunotherapy"

April 2017:

Klank RL, Decker Grunke SA, Bangasser BL, Forster CL, Price MA, Odde TJ, SantaCruz KS, Rosenfeld SS, Canoll P, Turley EA, McCarthy JB, Ohlfest JR, Odde DJ. "Biphasic Dependence of Glioma Survival and Cell Migration on CD44 Expression Level." Cell Reports 2017 April 18; 19(3): 668.

The University of Minnesota Foundation wrote two articles about brain tumor research at the University:

  • "Try, try again" about brain cancer immunotherapy developed by the U's Michael Olin, PhD and Liz Pluhar, DVM, PhD.
  • "Predicting cancer's next move" about Paolo Provenzano, PhD and David Odde, PhD and the work they are doing with physics-based research.

February 2017:

Randy Shaver Cancer Research & Community Fund announced their latest recipients of grant awards, with the following going to members of our group:

    • Walter Low, PhD: Harnessing the Zika virus for selectively killing brain tumors
    • Michael Olin, PhD: Targeting activation receptors to overcome tumor induced immunosuppression
    • Chris Pennell, PhD: Protecting the brain from cancer-killing cells


The University of Minnesota group of researchers that are one of three consotia for the Children's Tumor Foundation Synodos for NF1 were highlighted in a video on the CTF website

Gampa G, Vaidhyanathan S, Resman BW, Parrish KE, Markovic SN, Sarkaria JN, Elmquist WF. "Challenges in the delivery of therapies to melanoma brain metastases." Current Pharmacology Reports 2016 Dec; 2(6): 309-325.

Minnesota Monthly named Chris Moertel MD as "Top Doctor 2016"

Minneapolis St Paul Magazine named Chris Moertel MD as "Top Doctor" for the 6th year.

Sachs Z, Been RA, DeCoursin KJ, Nguyen HT, Mohd Hassan NA, Noble-Orcutt KE, Eckfeldt CE, Pomeroy EJ, Diaz-Flores E, Geurts JL, Diers MD, Hasz DE, Morgan KJ, MacMillan ML, Shannon KM, Largaespada DA, Wiesner SM. "Stat5 is critical for the development and maintenance of myeloproliferative neoplasm initiated by Nf1 deficiency." Haematologica. 2016 Oct; 101(10): 1190-1199.

Morrissy AS, Largaespada DA, et al. "Divergent clonal selection dominates medulloblastoma at recurrence." Nature. 2016 Jan 21; 529(7586): 351-357.


Minneapolis St Paul Magazine named Chris Moertel MD as "Top Doctor" for the 5th year.

Xiong Z, Ampudia-Mesias E, Shaver R, Horbinski CM, Moertel CL, Olin MR (2015). "Tumor-derived vaccines containing CD200 inhibit immune activation: implications for immunotherapy." Immunotherapy 8(9): 1059-1071.

Parrish KE, Pokorny J, Mittapalli RK, Bakken K, Sarkaria JN, Elmquist WF (2015). "Efflux transporters at the blood-brain barrier limit delivery and efficacy of cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 inhibitor palbociclib (PD-0332991) in an orthotopic brain tumor model." J Pharmacol Exp Ther 355(2): 264.271.