We aim to identify the molecular genetic alterations that underlie the development, progression and treatment resistance of brain tumors. By understanding the mechanism by which tumor genome alterations drive the growth of these cancers, therapeutic strategies can be designed to improve outcomes for patients.
The lab's current research effort aims at characterizing the response of brain tumors to targeted therapeutics, in particular examining the IDH mutant subclass of malignant gliomas. IDH mutant gliomas (consisting of oligodendrogliomas, astrocytomas, and secondary glioblastomas - approximately 20-25% of adult diffuse gliomas) are a distinct genomic subset of cancers that arise via a different pathway of tumor evolution when compared to other types of brain tumors. They have discrete mutations, metabolic phenotypes, and vulnerabilities to standard (surgery, radiation) and experimental (targeted) therapy. Our group is actively involved in many different studies of these tumors.
Our broader research effort has contributed to single-cell sequencing, genomic analyses of other CNS tumor sub-types such as craniopharyngioma, meningioma, brain metastases, hemangioblastoma, and spinal cord astrocytomas. In the past, we have made key discoveries regarding the molecular mechanisms of chemoresistance in human glioblastomas, as combined radiation and alkylating chemotherapy temozolomide have become the standard-of-care for patients over the last decade.
Daniel P. Cahill, MD, PhD