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DRIVEN TO DISCOVER CURES FOR NERVOUS SYSTEM TUMORS USING SAFER AND MORE EFFECTIVE THERAPIES The challenge of nervous system tumors remains daunting and the solution will not come from one individual or laboratory. Lasting solutions require a comprehensive strategy and a multidisciplinary approach. We created the University of Minnesota Brain Tumor Program (UMBTP) in 2008 to bring together a team that is up to the challenge. 

Who We Are

Who We Are

The Brain Tumor Translational Working Group consists of over 25 laboratories and 100 lab staff and medical professionals. We have successfully become one of the strongest models for translational research at the University of Minnesota with a focus on tumors of the nervous system.

Led by David Largaespada, Ph.D., and an engaged executive committee, we can take stock of very significant progress since our founding in 2008. This progress occured at the levels of basic, pre-clinical and clinical research. 

We have obtained very significant grant funding for this work from the National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society, American Brain Tumor Association, Children's Cancer Research Fund and others. We have made major contributions to understanding brain tumor genes, created new animal models, investigated the role of the immune system in brain tumor treatment and developed/tested new therapies. Some of these new therapies have been tested in dogs that developed brain tumors and are being seen in the Veterinary School and some have been tested in human patients.

We are world leaders in brain tumor vaccine therapy. This includes recent exciting discovery of a tumor derived immunosuppressive molecule called CD200. We may be able to block CD200 to make brain tumor vaccines more effective. We have developed and tested many brain tumor vaccines and found that they are especially effective for malignant meningiomas in dogs and are developing a new trial for human patients with aggressive meningiomas.

Other progress is also being made including genetically-based personalized brain tumor vaccines, "smart bomb" antibody-drug fusion based therapy, and new small molecule therapy for Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) associated nervous system tumors. This TWG hosts a monthly "data club" and has sponsored three national neuro-oncology symposia and multiple NF1 focused meetings.

Our Goals

Our Goals

  • Developing effective nervous system tumor vaccination strategies based on mouse model research and canine and human clinical trials
  • Determining the genetic maps that characterize the evolution of nervous system tumors
  • Understanding and bypassing the blood-brain barrier for effective brain tumor small molecule therapies
  • Defining the mechanisms of brain cancer cell dispersal for preventing tumor spread within the nervous system

How to Connect with Us

How to Connect with Us

General Inquiries

  • Have an idea you want to bring to the BTP group?
  • Want to present at data club?
  • Have an event you would like to share with us?

Send us an email: braintumor@umn.edu

Interested in hearing about upcoming events?

Complete this Google Form to let us know which events you are interested in. 

Check out our Events page for more information on upcoming events.

Support for other Researchers

We can offer collaborators access to our nervous system tumor cell lines, patient derived xenografts, and genetically engineered human cell and mouse models. 

We offer expertise in canine and human clinical trial design and experience with Investigational New Drug (IND) submission.