Damon Runyon Researchers

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Priscilla K. Brastianos, MD

Brain metastases are the most common tumor in the brain, most frequently originating from melanoma and carcinomas of the lung and breast. Of patients who develop brain metastases, approximately half succumb to the cancer in their brain. Unfortunately, treatment options are limited, and most current clinical trials in the US exclude patients with brain metastases. Dr. Brastianos recently completed a large study to understand the genetic changes that occur in brain metastases. She identified genetic alterations in brain metastases that predict sensitivity to targeted therapies. She will conduct a biomarker-driven Phase 2 study to evaluate targeted therapy in patients with brain metastases harboring specific genetic alterations. Her research will incorporate cutting-edge genomic technology and animal models to understand predictors of response, as well as resistance to targeted therapies. As most genomically guided trials in cancer have excluded patients with active brain metastases, this represents a potential paradigm shift in the management of patients with brain metastases.

Project title: "Investigation of novel targeted therapeutic approaches for brain metastases"
Institution: Massachusetts General Hospital
Award Program: Clinical Investigator
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Keith T. Flaherty, MD and Tracy T. Batchelor, MD
Cancer Type: Brain
Research Area: Invasion and Metastasis