Brain Tumor Research

The focus of the Henry Ford Cancer Institute's brain tumor clinical research program is to improve patient outcomes through excellence in surgery and clinical trials. These studies provide new treatments to eligible patients before they are widely available.

Our translational research program brings laboratory and bioinformatics research to patients. Better diagnostics and treatment through analysis of tumor genetic material hold particularly exciting promise for brain tumors, which can affect a person's vital functions and are difficult to eradicate.  

Hermelin Brain Tumor Center at Henry Ford

The Hermelin Brain Tumor Center (HBTC) offers access to new brain tumor therapies through more than 25 clinical trials and research programs. We are the only site in Michigan offering therapies through the Adult Brain Tumor Consortium (ABTC).

Our affiliation with the ABTC helps us advance research and makes available phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials to our patients.

  • HBTC is participating in the first randomized trial to assess a facilitator-directed early Advanced Care Planning intervention to optimize end-of-life (EoL) decision making and quality of life of brain tumor patients and their caregivers.
  • In 2015, Henry Ford joined MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, UCLA and the University of Utah in the leadership of the newly established GBM-AGILE program (Glioblastoma Adaptive Global Innovative Learning Environment). This new global initiative combines drug development, clinical trials, advanced precision medicine genetic testing and crowdsourcing informatics and telecommunications to improve treatment of GBMs.

Our brain cancer researchers benefit from our work with:

  • Brain tumor genomics: We have worked extensively to understand the genetics of brain tumors. We seek to develop therapies matched to each patient's brain tumor genetics for the best chance at recovery.
  • Our brain tumor tissue bank: We host the world’s second-largest brain tumor tissue bank. This resource allows researchers to study many types of tumor cells from a diverse patient population. Learn more about our cancer research cores and shared resources.
  • Contributions to The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA): TCGA is a national cooperative of major academic medical centers, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, which is responsible for identifying certain survival-related genes. TCGA-generated data is a major resource for our research laboratories. Find out more about The Cancer Genome Atlas.
  • Brain tumor imaging research: We contribute to the multi-institutional effort to correlate clinical imaging with genotype of brain tumors. This research contributes to The Cancer Imaging Archive.
  • Support for new World Health Organization (WHO) classification of gliomas: Henry Ford investigators made significant contributions to the hallmark paper on the use of epigenomics and genomics features to improve diagnosis and classification of adult gliomas.

Our brain cancer researchers collaborate closely with experts across all departments, including neurosurgery, neurology, radiology and pathology, at the Hermelin Brain Tumor Center.


Brain cancer research

Our researchers work from the molecular through the clinical levels of research. Some of our recent investigations include:

  • Precision medicine for brain tumors:
    • Identifying critical biomarkers and other pretreatment screening tools to personalize tumor treatment for individual patients through our precision medicine cancer research 
    • Developing brain tumor patient-derived models for studying cancer biology and developing new therapies
    • Evaluating the outcome of specific chemotherapeutic treatments based on molecular profiling
  • Integrated molecular characterization of brain tumors:
    • Developing novel analytical tools and methods to understand the link between specific intergenic regions and gene regulation associated with somatic and germline risk elements in cancer
    • Characterizing the epigenetic landscape of pituitary, thyroid and adrenocortical tumors
    • Understanding how molecularly integrated diagnosis according to WHO 2016 diagnosis groups will translate into outcomes and treatment decisions for glioma patients
  • Glioma progression and treatment:
    • Studying tumor clonal evolution and extra-chromosomal oncogene amplification
    • Understanding the role of PKC in the regulation of glioma cell apoptosis and autophagy
    • Understanding self-renewal and differentiation of neural stem cells and glioma stem cells
    • Testing the inhibition of serine/threonine kinases mTOR and DNA-PK to sensitize glioblastoma to DNA-damaging treatments
    • Characterizing the role of heparinase in glioma progression
  • Other brain cancer research:
    • Developing novel approaches for imaging and treating brain tumors using nanoparticles as part of our cancer imaging research 
    • Developing clinical guidelines for metastatic disease

Get involved with brain cancer research

We could not conduct successful brain cancer research without the assistance and support of patients, families, physicians and other researchers.

To participate in our brain cancer research:

  • Find a clinical trial: With hundreds of clinical trials underway, we may be able to offer you a treatment or technique before it is available in most places. Learn more about clinical trials.
  • Become a Henry Ford researcher: Brain cancer researchers, neurologists and surgeons may be able to take part in our work. Join our research team.
  • Support cancer research: Henry Ford’s Cancer Research Advisory Group (CRAG) provides funding and resources to help advance our research. Learn how you can support cancer research.
  • For research collaborations: The following survey collects information about the resources that you would like to request from the Hermelin Brain Tumor Center. This initial information will be reviewed by our committee to determine whether the resources you need are available and appropriate next steps. Take the survey.
  • Our researchers

    Our brain cancer researchers collaborate with oncologists and other cancer investigators, as well as neurosurgeons and neurologists.

    Find out more about our researchers and their interests, below. You also can read more about how to join our research team.

    Brain cancer research leader and clinical co-leader

    Brain cancer scientific members

    Brain cancer research clinical members:

  • Publications in brain cancer research

    We publish our findings in scientific journals to share what we learn with other oncologists and researchers. Search the publications below for topics that interest you.

    Publications by Henry Ford brain cancer researchers

    Alentorn A, Hoang-Xuan K and Mikkelsen T. Presenting signs and symptoms in brain tumors. Handbook of clinical neurology. 2016; 134:19–26.

    Ali R, Khan M, Chang V, Narang J, Jain R, Marin H, Rock J and Kole M. MRI pre- and post-embolization enhancement patterns predict surgical outcomes in intracranial meningiomas. Journal of neuroimaging: official journal of the American Society of Neuroimaging. 2016; 26(1):130–135.

    Boyce-Fappiano D, Elibe E, Lee IY, Rock J, Siddiqui MS and Siddiqui F. Combined stereotactic radiosurgery and percutaneous vertebral augmentation for pain control in pathological vertebral compression fractures. International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics. 2016; 96(2s):E87.

    Boyce-Fappiano D, Elibe E, Lee IY, Rock J, Siddiqui MS and Siddiqui F. Single-fraction stereotactic radiosurgery for renal cell carcinoma spine metastasis. International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics. 2016; 96(2s):E519.

    Broadbent B, Tseng J, Kast R, Noh T, Brusatori M, Kalkanis SN and Auner GW. Shining light on neurosurgery diagnostics using Raman spectroscopy. Journal of neuro-oncology. 2016.

    Burgett ME, Lathia JD, Roth P, Nowacki AS, Galileo DS, Pugacheva E, Huang P, Vasanji A, Li M, Byzova T, Mikkelsen T, Bao S, Rich JN, Weller M and Gladson CL. Direct contact with perivascular tumor cells enhances integrin alphavbeta3 signaling and migration of endothelial cells. Oncotarget. 2016.

    Ceccarelli M, Barthel FP, Malta TM, Sabedot TS, Salama SR, Murray BA, Morozova O, Newton Y, Radenbaugh A, Pagnotta SM, Anjum S, Wang J, Manyam G, Zoppoli P, Ling S, Rao AA, et al. Molecular profiling reveals biologically discrete subsets and pathways of progression in diffuse glioma. Cell. 2016; 164(3):550–563.

    Cloughesy T, Finocchiaro G, Belda-Iniesta C, Recht L, Brandes AA, Pineda E, Mikkelsen T, Chinot OL, Balana C, Macdonald DR, Westphal M, Hopkins K, Weller M, Bais C, Sandmann T, Bruey JM, et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter phase II study of onartuzumab plus bevacizumab versus placebo plus bevacizumab in patients with recurrent glioblastoma: Efficacy, safety, and hepatocyte growth factor and o6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase biomarker analyses. J Clin Oncol. 2016:Jco2015647685.

    Cloughesy TF, Aghi M, Bota D, Chen C, Elder JB, Kalkanis SN, Kaptain GJ, Kesari S, Landolfi J, Mikkelsen T, Portnow J, Robbins JM, Ostertag D, Chu A, Huang T and Vogelbaum MA. Prior radiation in subjects who were treated with toca 511 and toca fc across 3 toca 511 phase 1 trials. International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics. 2016; 96(2s):E66–E67.

    Cloughesy TF, Aghi MK, Chen C, Elder JB, Kesari S, Kalkanis SN, Kaptain G, Landolfi JC, Mikkelsen T, Portnow J, Robbins JM, Ostertag D, Das A, Chu A and Vogelbaum MA. Encouraging survival with Toca 511 and Toca FC compared to external lomustine control. J Clin Oncol. 2016; 34.

    Cloughesy TF, Landolfi J, Hogan DJ, Bloomfield S, Carter B, Chen CC, Elder JB, Kalkanis SN, Kesari S, Lai A, Lee IY, Liau LM, Mikkelsen T, Nghiemphu PL, Piccioni D, Walbert T, et al. Phase 1 trial of vocimagene amiretrorepvec and 5-fluorocytosine for recurrent high-grade glioma. Science translational medicine. 2016; 8(341):341ra375.

    Dewan MC, Thompson RC, Kalkanis SN, Barker FG, 2nd and Hadjipanayis CG. Prophylactic antiepileptic drug administration following brain tumor resection: results of a recent AANS/CNS Section on Tumors survey. Journal of neurosurgery. 2016:1–7.

    Elibe E, Boyce-Fappiano D, Walker EM, Lee IY, Rock J, Siddiqui S and Siddiqui F. Significance of hormone therapy and bisphosphonate use on vertebral compression fracture (vcf) incidence following spine stereotactic body radiation therapy (sbrt) for breast cancer metastases. International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics. 2016; 96(2s):E509.

    Gilbert MR, Pugh SL, Aldape K, Sorensen AG, Mikkelsen T, Penas-Prado M, Bokstein F, Kwok Y, Lee RJ and Mehta M. NRG oncology RTOG 0625: a randomized phase II trial of bevacizumab with either irinotecan or dose-dense temozolomide in recurrent glioblastoma. Journal of neuro-oncology. 2016.

    Glide-Hurst CK, Miller BM, Kim JP, Siddiqui MS and Movsas B. Potential failure modes for magnetic resonance-only treatment planning in the pelvis. International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics. 2016; 96(2s):S233–S234.

    Hong X, Meng Y and Kalkanis SN. Serum proteins are extracted along with monolayer cells in plasticware and interfere with protein analysis. Journal of biological methods. 2016; 3(4).

    Jaehne AK, Rivers EP, Poisson LK, Chen Y, Gill J, Deledda J and Suarez A. Plasma proteome in patients with vasopressor dependent septic shock. Shock. 2016; 45(6):131.

    Jiang W, Finniss S, Cazacu S, Xiang C, Brodie Z, Mikkelsen T, Poisson L, Shackelford DB and Brodie C. Repurposing phenformin for the targeting of glioma stem cells and the treatment of glioblastoma. Oncotarget. 2016.

    John JK, Robin AM, Pabaney AH, Rammo RA, Schultz LR, Sadry NS and Lee IY. Complications of ventricular entry during craniotomy for brain tumor resection. Journal of neurosurgery. 2016:1–7.

    Jolly DJ, Robbins JM, Ostertag D, Ibanez C, Kasahara N, Gruber H, Kalkanis SN, Vogelbaum M, Aghi MK, Cloughesy T, Chu A, Das A and Skillings J. Ascending dose trials of a retroviral replicating vector (toca 511) in patients with recurrent high-grade glioma: Clinical update, molecular analyses, and proposed mechanism of action. Mol Ther. 2016; 24:S27.

    Kazimirsky G, Jiang W, Slavin S, Ziv-Av A and Brodie C. Mesenchymal stem cells enhance the oncolytic effect of Newcastle disease virus in glioma cells and glioma stem cells via the secretion of TRAIL. Stem cell research & therapy. 2016; 7(1):149.

    Kim J, Wu Q, Zhao B, Wen N, Ajlouni M, Movsas B and Chetty IJ. To gate or not to gate - dosimetric evaluation comparing Gated vs. ITV-based methodologies in stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR) treatment of lung cancer. Radiation oncology (London, England). 2016; 11(1):125.

    Lee I, Kalkanis S and Hadjipanayis CG. Stereotactic laser interstitial thermal therapy for recurrent high-grade gliomas. Neurosurgery. 2016; 79 Suppl 1:S24–S34.

    Mattour AH, Walbert T, Lee I and Wang D. A revisit of the devastating outcome of leptomeningeal disease. J Clin Oncol. 2016; 34.

    Meir R, Betzer O, Motiei M, Kronfeld N, Brodie C and Popovtzer R. Design principles for noninvasive, longitudinal and quantitative cell tracking with nanoparticle-based CT imaging. Nanomedicine: nanotechnology, biology, and medicine. 2016.

    Miller JB, Merck LH, Wira CR, Meurer WJ, SchRock JW, Nomura JT, Siket MS, Madsen TE, Wright DW, Panagos PD and Lewandowski C. The advanced reperfusion era: Implications for emergency systems of ischemic stroke care. Annals of emergency medicine. 2016.

    Munkarah A, Mert I, Chhina J, Hamid S, Poisson L, Hensley-Alford S, Giri S and Rattan R. Targeting of free fatty acid receptor 1 in EOC: A novel strategy to restrict the adipocyte-EOC dependence. Gynecol Oncol. 2016; 141(1):72–79.

    Munkarah AR, Kim S, Buekers TE, Chhina J, Poisson L, Giri S and Rattan R. Metabolic effects of metformin treatment in ovarian cancer cell lines. Gynecol Oncol. 2016; 141:168.

    Munster PN, Mahlpal A, Nemunaitis JJ, Mlta MM, Paz-Ares LG, Massard C, Mikkelsen T, Cruz C, Rathkopf DE, Blumenschein GR, Hidalgo M, Smith DC, Eichhorst B, Cloughesy TF, Garrick B, Trowe T, et al. Phase I trial of a dual TOR kinase and DNA-PK inhibitor (CC- 115) in advanced solid and hematologic cancers. J Clin Oncol. 2016; 34.

    Parajuli P, Anand R, Mandalaparty C, Suryadevara R, Sriranga PU, Michelhaugh SK, Cazacu S, Finniss S, Thakur A, Lum LG, Schalk D, Brodie C and Mittal S. Preferential expression of functional IL-17R in glioma stem cells: potential role in self-renewal. Oncotarget. 2016.

    Pauszek RF, 3rd, Kodali G, Siddiqui MS and Stanley RJ. Overlapping electronic states with nearly parallel transition dipole moments in reduced anionic flavin can distort photobiological dynamics. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2016; 138(45):14880–14889.

    Qin Y, Zhong H, Wen N, Snyder K, Huang Y and Chetty IJ. Deriving detector-specific correction factors for rectangular small fields using a scintillator detector. Journal of applied clinical medical physics. 2016; 17(6):6433.

    Ramaswamy V, Hielscher T, Mack SC, Lassaletta A, Lin T, Pajtler KW, Jones DT, Luu B, Cavalli FM, Aldape K, Remke M, Mynarek M, Rutkowski S, Gururangan S, McLendon RE, Lipp ES, et al. Therapeutic impact of cytoreductive surgery and irradiation of posterior fossa ependymoma in the molecular era: A retrospective multicohort analysis. J Clin Oncol. 2016.

    Rattan R, Mert I, Chhina J, Hamid S, Hijaz M, Poisson L, Hensley Alford S, Giri S and Munkarah AR. Targeting of free fatty acid receptor 1 in EOC: A novel strategy to restrict the adipocyte-EOC dependence. Gynecol Oncol. 2016; 141:47.

    Reinard KA, Zakaria HM, Qatanani A, Lee IY, Rock JP and Houin HP. Preoperative external tissue expansion for complex cranial reconstructions. Journal of neurosurgery. 2016:1–8.

    Santoso AP, Song KH, Qin Y, Gardner SJ, Liu C, Chetty IJ, Movsas B, Ajlouni M and Wen N. Evaluation of gantry speed on image quality and imaging dose for 4D cone-beam CT acquisition. Radiation oncology (London, England). 2016; 11(1):98.

    Schiff D, Desjardins A, Cloughesy T, Mikkelsen T, Glantz M, Chamberlain MC, Reardon DA and Wen PY. Phase 1 dose escalation trial of the safety and pharmacokinetics of cabozantinib concurrent with temozolomide and radiotherapy or temozolomide after radiotherapy in newly diagnosed patients with high-grade gliomas. Cancer. 2016; 122(4):582–587.

    Shainer R, Almogi-Hazan O, Berger A, Hinden L, Mueller M, Brodie C, Simillion C, Paidas M, Barnea ER and Or R. PreImplantation factor (PIF) therapy provides comprehensive protection against radiation induced pathologies. Oncotarget. 2016.

    Shankar A, Borin TF, Iskander A, Varma NR, Achyut BR, Jain M, Mikkelsen T, Guo AM, Chwang WB, Ewing JR, Bagher-Ebadian H and Arbab AS. Combination of vatalanib and a 20-HETE synthesis inhibitor results in decreased tumor growth in an animal model of human glioma. OncoTargets and therapy. 2016; 9:1205–1219.

    Siddiqui MA, Eraqi H, Omar S and Jafri SM. Massive disparity in insurance approval; a comparison between ledipasvir/sofosbuvir based hepatitis C therapy and adalimumab based IBD therapy. Hepatology. 2016; 63(1):474A.

    Siddiqui MA, Iraqi H, Aggarwal R, Varma A, El Atrache M and Jafri SM. Insurance approval rates for medicaid patients: A comparison between ledipasvir/sofosbuvir based hepatitis C therapy and adalimumab based IBD therapy. Am J Gastroenterol. 2016; 111:S365.

    Siddiqui MA, Tang J, Khan S, El Atrache M, Varma A, Aggarwal R and Jafri SM. A case of necrotising pancreatitis following ampullary biopsy. Am J Gastroenterol. 2016; 111:S549–S550.

    Snyder J, Scarpace L, Schultz L and Walbert T. The role of neuro-oncology tumor boards at academic centers in the United States. Neuro-Oncology. 2016; 18:iv82.

    Storrow AB, Christenson RH, Nowak RM, Diercks DB, Singer AJ, Wu AH, Kulstad E, LoVecchio F, Fromm C, Headden G, Potis T, Hogan CJ, SchRock JW, Zelinski DP, Greenberg MR, Ritchie JC, et al. Diagnostic performance of cardiac Troponin I for early rule-in and rule-out of acute myocardial infarction: Results of a prospective multicenter trial. Clinical biochemistry. 2015; 48(4-5):254–259.

    Sturm D, Orr BA, Toprak UH, Hovestadt V, Jones DT, Capper D, Sill M, Buchhalter I, Northcott PA, Leis I, Ryzhova M, Koelsche C, Pfaff E, Allen SJ, Balasubramanian G, Worst BC, et al. New brain tumor entities emerge from molecular classification of CNS-PNETs. Cell. 2016; 164(5):1060–1072.

    Van Den Bent MJ, Gan HK, Lassman AB, Kumthekar P, Merrell R, Butowski NA, Lwin Z, Mikkelsen T, Nabors LB, Papadopoulos KP, Penas-Prado M, Simes J, Wheeler H, Gomez EJ, Lee HJ, Roberts-Rapp L, et al. Efficacy of a novel antibody-drug conjugate (ADC), ABT-414, as monotherapy in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) amplified, recurrent glioblastoma (GBM). J Clin Oncol. 2016; 34.

    Walbert T, Glantz M, Schultz L and Puduvalli VK. Impact of provider level, training and gender on the utilization of palliative care and hospice in neuro-oncology: a North-American survey. Journal of neuro-oncology. 2016; 126(2):337–345.

    Wen N, Bagher-Ebadian H, Pantelic M, Hearshen D, Elshaikh MA, Chetty IJ and Movsas B. A physiologically nested pharmacokinetic model in dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging for detection of dominant intraprostatic lesions in patients with prostate cancer. International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics. 2016; 96(2s):E619.

    Wen N, Lu S, Kim J, Qin Y, Huang Y, Zhao B, Liu C and Chetty IJ. Precise film dosimetry for stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotactic body radiotherapy quality assurance using Gafchromic EBT3 films. Radiation oncology (London, England). 2016; 11(1):132.

    Wen N, Snyder KC, Scheib SG, Schmelzer P, Qin Y, Li H, Siddiqui MS and Chetty IJ. Technical Note: Evaluation of the systematic accuracy of a frameless, multiple image modality guided, linear accelerator based stereotactic radiosurgery system. Med Phys. 2016; 43(5):2527.

    Wu Q, Snyder KC, Liu C, Huang Y, Zhao B, Chetty IJ and Wen N. Optimization of treatment geometry to reduce normal brain dose in radiosurgery of multiple brain metastases with single-isocenter volumetric modulated arc therapy. Scientific reports. 2016; 6:34511.

    Wu Q, Wen N, Snyder KC, Liu C, Huang Y, Zhao B, Chetty IJ, Shah MM, Movsas B and Siddiqui S. The projection summing optimization algorithm can effectively reduce normal brain dose in stereotactic radiosurgery of multiple brain metastases with single isocenter. International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics. 2016; 96(2s):E676–E677.

    Xu H, Brown S, Chetty IJ and Wen N. A systematic analysis of errors in target localization and treatment delivery for stereotactic radiosurgery using 2D/3D image registration. Technology in cancer research & treatment. 2016.

    Yadav VN, Zamler D, Baker GJ, Kadiyala P, Erdreich-Epstein A, DeCarvalho AC, Mikkelsen T, Castro MG and Lowenstein PR. CXCR4 increases in-vivo glioma perivascular invasion, and reduces radiation induced apoptosis: A genetic knockdown study. Oncotarget. 2016.

    Zhou K, Yee SW, Seiser EL, van Leeuwen N, Tavendale R, Bennett AJ, Groves CJ, Coleman RL, van der Heijden AA, Beulens JW, de Keyser CE, Zaharenko L, Rotroff DM, Out M, Jablonski KA, Chen L, et al. Variation in the glucose transporter gene SLC2A2 is associated with glycemic response to metformin. Nature genetics. 2016.


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