Human glial progenitor cells for radiation‐induced brain injury

Grant Project Details:

Terry Burns, MD, PhD
Mayo Clinic | Rochester, MN
In Process
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Grant Location

Mayo Clinic
Rochester, MN

Grant Description

Brain irradiation is the standard of treatment for most brain tumors. Irradiating the brain prolongs patient survival, but often results in long term memory and functional impairments. These deficits are driven by radiation injury to myelinating cells, oligodendrocytes. One method to prevent deficits is to replace myelin by transplanting in new stem cells to the brain. We will test the safety and effectiveness of human glial cells to protect the brain in a model of radiation‐induced brain injury during therapy for brain cancer.

Year 1 Progress Report:

Radiation is the most standard and effective treatment for brain tumors but induces progressive neurocognitive deficits that erode quality of life. Replacing lost myelin in the brains of patients with brain tumors may protect axons and thus limit progressive decline of memory and motor function. Our preclinical studies have so far demonstrated that glial progenitor cells (GPCs) survive and engraft in the radiated brain. Analysis is ongoing to determine their fate and functional impacts. Our studies also test the safety of the glial progenitor cells in the context of residual tumor. Our preliminary studies highlight important interactions between implanted stem cells and tumor cells that we must understand to develop safe and effective therapies. Ongoing work will determine if it is possible to leverage glial progenitor cells to help deliver therapies to the tumors as well as helping to rejuvenate the brain after brain radiation.

Grant Awardee Biography

image of Terry Burns, MD, PhD