About the SPORE

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The UCLA Brain Tumor Center is a designated Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) site funded by the National Cancer Institute.  Dr. Linda Liau, who is Professor and Chair of the UCLA Department of Neurosurgery, Director of the UCLA Brain Tumor Center, and Principal Investigator of the UCLA SPORE in Brain Cancer, is helping to bring together basic researchers and clinicians to translate basic research from the laboratories into patient clinical trials much more quickly and effectively.

The objectives of the UCLA SPORE in Brain Cancer are to contribute significantly to progress in the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of brain cancer. These goals will be accomplished through diverse research projects involving mechanistic pre-clinical work and innovative clinical studies, with a particular focus on developing novel strategies to overcome the problem of treatment resistance.  The SPORE program includes research for several brain cancer types, including low- and high-grade glioma, glioblastoma, and meningioma.

The broad, long-term objectives and aims of our brain cancer SPORE are as follows: 1) to investigate mechanisms by which brain tumors evade the immune system following immunotherapy, and develop rational combinations of immunotherapeutic strategies to overcome the immunosuppressive microenvironment of the brain tumor; 2) to elucidate the alterations in brain tumor metabolism that happens as a result of targeted therapy resistance, and exploit these metabolic vulnerabilities to induce intrinsic apoptosis of tumor cells; 3) to explore the concept of radiation-induced phenotype conversion of non-tumorigenic cells to glioblastoma-initiating cells as a mechanism for radiation resistance, and test new therapeutics to block this phenotype conversion; and 4) to investigate the pathways of resistance to IDH inhibitors and utilize novel epigenetic pathways to sensitize IDH-mutant gliomas to treatment.  Please visit the “Research Projects” section of this website to learn more.

These translational research projects will be supported by shared resource cores: the Administrative Core, the Biospecimen and Pathology Core, the Neuroimaging Core, and the Biostatistics, Bioinformatics & Data Management Core.  Please see the “Shared Resource Cores” section of this website to learn more.

This SPORE program will also support Developmental Research and Career Enhancement Programs in order to foster new approaches for assessing and treating brain cancer.  Please see the “Seed Grants” portion of the Research Projects section of this website to learn more.

Our diverse array of novel projects and state-of-the-art cores will likely make a significant impact on brain cancer patient care. Each project has been developed jointly by teams of basic and clinical researchers working together in a trans-disciplinary manner to address the most vexing problem in brain cancer -- the development of treatment resistance.