• Project Title: Role of the Microenvironment on the Formation of Brain Tumors

  • BASIS Advisor: Dr. Murthy

  • Internship Location: UC San Francisco

  • Onsite Mentor: Dr. Joanna Phillips

Brain tumors—specifically gliomas—have a survival time of 15 to 16 months. There are many treatment options with various levels of success and risk, but gliomas are different from patient to patient, making this difficult. I will research ways to determine whether the concentration of certain proteins or the activation of pathways can influence the growth rate of tumor cells and even potentially kill tumor cells. Working with brain matter and brain tumors in a research environment in UC San Francisco will give me experience and understanding that will help me in my future career of a neurologist. Research shows the PI3K | AKT | MTOR pathway has an impact on tumor cell growth, but the problem is that this pathway is not active in every patient with a glioma, so the lab is trying to measure if this pathway is excessively active in an individual patient. This lab is using immunohistochemistry, which is the process of staining particular proteins, to try to measure the activation of the PI3K | AKT | MTOR pathway and its relation to tumor cell growth rate for individual glioma samples. The lab obtains brain tumor samples from live patients during surgery. The goal is to try to measure the activation of this pathway in live patients and use this information to influence diagnosis decisions or treatment options, and potentially get rid of the cancer all together or lessen the severity.