The Department of Neurosurgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is one of six leading neurosurgery research centers that have joined together to launch the Glioma Connectome Project (GCP), a consortium dedicated to advancing clinical research and treatment of patients with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Established and funded by StacheStrong, a non-profit devoted to raising funds and awareness for brain cancer research, the GCP’s mission is to generate groundbreaking brain connectomics research to drive clinical and practice changes at neurosurgical centers across the United States.
The nascent field of “connectomics” is the study of connectomes—or brain networks—which are formed by electrical connections within an individual’s brain and which play vital roles in functions such as language, emotion, and cognition. Brain tumors, such as glioblastomas, can disrupt these networks in the brain and produce neurologic deficits in patients.
“We are excited to launch this consortium of leading institutions to provide hope for patients diagnosed with brain cancer, and to serve as a catalyst for change,” said Colin Gerner, President and Co-Founder of StacheStrong. “This promising new study brings together top neurosurgeons and neuroradiologists to learn about brain connectomics to help with glioma surgery success and for better understanding of how best to treat and rehabilitate patients following surgery.”
The GCP consortium, which includes the University of Pennsylvania, University of Miami, Mount Sinai Health System, Henry Ford Health System, Northwestern University, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, will launch a series of prospective, observational studies that will harness large-scale multi-institution clinical data collected in the routine care of glioma patients. Through the collection of patient data from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, researchers will produce personalized brain maps for reach patient. The use of machine learning techniques and cutting-edge software will maximize the quality and volume of data while minimizing the time and resources needed from physicians and patients, with the ultimate goal of translating breakthrough connectomics findings into neurological care at the bedside.
“This is an exciting new initiative we will help lead with our nonprofit partner StacheStrong. The GCP will allow us to determine how brain tumors impact important brain networks and connections that make us human. We can now relate brain network operation back to anatomy by determining what physical areas correspond to functional areas and their interconnections,” said Constantinos Hadjipanayis, MD, Director of Neurosurgical Oncology for the Mount Sinai Health System, Director of the Brain Tumor Nanotechnology Laboratory in The Tisch Cancer Institute, and a board member of StacheStrong. “A better understanding of these important networks may help us determine better approaches to tumors by avoiding injury and damage to those networks that can impact our thoughts, emotions, and higher-level cognitive function. In addition, identifying those networks that are impacted by surgery may allow us to focus on rehabilitation and relearning of networks after patients undergo their brain tumor removal.
About the Glioma Connectome Project:
The Glioma Connectome Project is a consortium of leading brain tumor centers dedicated to studying and exploring the wiring of the human brain, or “connectome,” to further our understanding of the origins and progression of glioblastoma as well as developing and evaluating surgical, radiation, medical, and immunological therapies. The consortium’s objectives include improving current treatment paradigms, developing new biomarkers and endpoints in glioma therapy, measuring the benefits and risks of glioma therapy including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, electrical field therapy, and others. The consortium includes the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Miami, Mount Sinai Health System, Henry Ford Health System, the University of Nebraska, and Northwestern University.
StacheStrong is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to raising funds and awareness for brain cancer research. Defeating brain cancer and improving the quality of patients’ lives is our daily focus. StacheStrong has become a beacon of hope for countless individuals and families afflicted by this disease and we serve as an ardent advocate for all those impacted by brain cancer. StacheStrong has raised over $1,750,000 and funded 13 clinical trials/research grants. Net proceeds raised go towards brain cancer research initiatives and together, we will change the script on brain cancer.