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Moores UCSD Cancer Center Brain Tumor Treatment Program Launches Biomarker Clinical Study

Posted on: 08/17/2010

Moores UCSD Cancer Center Brain Tumor Treatment Program Launches Biomarker Clinical Study



The Brain Tumor Treatment Program at The Moores UCSD Cancer Center is examining biomarkers as an opportunity to advance the treatment of malignant gliomas, a relatively common type of brain tumor, in a new a clinical trial.


The clinical study will enroll 50 patients at Moores UCSD Cancer Center. The world-renowned Cancer Center has established a multi-disciplinary team whose specialty is caring for patients with brain tumors. Called the Brain Tumor Center, this unique group of clinicians and researchers is focusing its research on personalized medicine, such as biomarkers, and conducting clinical trials to improve the treatment of brain tumors.

 “The Brain Tumor Center includes neurosurgery, neuropathology, neuroimaging, radiation oncology, neuropsychology in one team – engaging everyone to advance the patient’s care,” said Bob Carter, MD, PhD, chief of the division of neurosurgery at UC San Diego Medical Center and the Moores UCSD Cancer Center.

Brain Tumors are one of the most lethal diagnoses, with no known cure. Scientists at the NIH and at universities across the US are exploring a variety of approaches such as defining biomarkers to advance treatment options.

Biomarkers are molecules or others substances in the blood or tissue that can be used to diagnose or monitor a particular disorder, among other functions.  As cells become cancerous, they can release unique proteins and other molecules into the body which scientists use to speed diagnosis and treatment. 

“Looking at the underlying genetics of the tumor and its responsiveness to treatment will allow us to personalize therapy,” said Santosh Kesari, MD, PhD, chief of the division of neuro-oncology, in the Department of Neurosciences at UC San Diego, School of Medicine and director of neuro-oncology at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center.

The purpose of the Phase II clinical trial is to assess the efficacy of oral nilotinib as a treatment for patients living with brain tumors which have PDGFR amplification.

The open-label, non-randomized study will be conducted over two years, with patients visiting the clinic monthly for evaluation. Prior to enrolling on treatment phase of study, tumor samples will be screened for PDGFR amplification.

“If study is positive this will underscore the need for biomarker-based studies and open up a new treatment for which there is no current standard of care,” said Kesari.

For more information on the study, or to enroll contact Alexander Hu at 858-822-5377 or

For more information on Brain Tumor Treatment Program at Moores UCSD Cancer Center, please visit 




Media contact: Jamee Lynn Smith, 619-543-6163,


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