800-826-HOPE (4673)

If you have been recently diagnosed with a brain tumor or looking for a second opinion, you and your family may be facing a lot of difficult questions. It's vital to learn your options and take action right away. City of Hope is a leader in the research, diagnosis and treatment of brain tumors. We offer innovative, leading-edge therapies and clinical trials not always available elsewhere. Our world-class team of specialists can walk you through the process, address your concerns and create a personalized treatment plan designed to give you the best possible results.

Clinical Trials

City of Hope is currently enrolling patients with newly developed or recurrent brain tumors for clinical trials. If you are interested in learning our clinical trials or in referring a patient for enrollment, please call 626-471-9393 or email at [email protected].

Why Choose City of Hope

At City of Hope, we treat the whole person, body and soul. We have an unmatched reputation for coordinated, comprehensive and compassionate care. Our brain tumor team has pioneered state-of-the-art procedures that eradicate tumor cells while minimizing side effects. We bring together a broad array of expertise from multiple disciplines, all under one roof:

  • Minimally invasive surgery targets tumors while preserving healthy brain cells
  • Non-invasive, alternating electric field therapy disrupts tumor cell division
  • Radiation therapy, including ultra-precise Helical TomoTherapy
  • Revolutionary neural stem cell therapy delivers chemotherapy directly to tumors
  • Pioneering drug research and clinical trials
  • Advanced immunotherapy and gene therapy

Plus, your care continues long after treatment, with our unique family and survivorship programs.

Top Ranked Cancer Center

City of Hope is nationally recognized as a leader in the research and treatment of brain tumors. We are designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute, and U.S. News & World Report has named City of Hope one of the top cancer hospitals in America.

If you have been diagnosed with a brain tumor or are looking for a second opinion consultation about your treatment, request an appointment online or contact us at 800-826-HOPE. Please visit Making Your First Appointment for more information.

Care Team

City of Hope’s renowned physicians and researchers utilize the latest in technology and innovation to treat adult and pediatric brain cancer, coupled with our enduring belief in providing unparalleled compassionate care.

Anatomic Pathology

Massimo D'Apuzzo, M.D., Ph.D.

Clinical Specialties

  • Anatomic Pathology

Diagnostic Radiology

Bihong (Beth) Chen, M.D., Ph.D.

Clinical Specialties

  • Diagnostic Radiology
Julie Ann Ressler, M.D.

Clinical Specialties

  • Diagnostic Radiology

Medical Oncology

Jana Portnow, M.D.

Clinical Specialties

  • Medical Oncology


Neal Prakash, M.D., Ph.D.

Clinical Specialties

  • Neurology


Behnam Badie, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Clinical Specialties

  • Neurosurgery
Mike Y. Chen, M.D., Ph.D.

Clinical Specialties

  • Neurosurgery
Rahul Jandial, M.D., Ph.D.

Clinical Specialties

  • Neurosurgery

Pediatric Hematology-Oncology

Clarke Anderson, M.D.

Clinical Specialties

  • Pediatric Hematology-Oncology

Radiation Oncology

Savita Dandapani, M.D., Ph.D.

Clinical Specialties

  • Radiation Oncology
Eric H. Radany, M.D., Ph.D.

Clinical Specialties

  • Radiation Oncology
Breakthroughs - Joan Rose-Hall 256x256
Joan, breast cancer/brain tumor survivor

Like many breast cancer survivors, Joan didn’t know that breast cancer is prone to spread, or metastasize, to the brain. When her cancer returned in the form of a brain tumor, Joan came to City of Hope.

Brain Cancer Survivor: Bridget
Bridget, brain tumor survivor

Faced with brain cancer, Bridget refused to become a statistic. She sought a second opinion at City of Hope.

Every patient is different, with different needs. At City of Hope, we design a brain tumor treatment plan just for you. We support you every step of the way, both during treatment and after, helping you and your loved ones manage your recovery.

Learn more about treatment options for brain tumors, including

  • surgery - For operable brain tumors, surgical removal of the cancer is typically the first treatment provided and can be curative for early stage patients. However, it is also a viable option for patients with advanced or high-grade tumors, significantly improving outcomes and quality of life. Our neurosurgery team’s focus on researching and treating brain tumors also means they can target tumors that are considered inoperable elsewhere.

    City of Hope’s neurosurgeons also specialize in minimally invasive procedures whenever possible. By using fewer incisions and making smaller cuts, our surgeons can remove and extract the tumor with minimal impact to the surrounding healthy brain tissue. As a result, patients experience less discomfort, fewer post-surgical complications and a faster recovery time. 

These procedures include:

  • Intraoperative cortical mapping: This technology gives the surgeon a computerized map of key brain regions, including speech, motor and sensory centers. By avoiding these critical areas, the risk of neurological damage is minimized while allowing as much of the tumor to be removed as possible.   
  • Image-guided surgical navigation: This technology helps guide the removal of tumors that are difficult to visualize or are located in “high-risk” areas of the brain by using preoperative magnetic resonance images (MRIs).
  • Endoscopic surgery: Certain brain surgery procedures may be performed through an endoscope - a thin, lighted tube that requires a small opening and accommodates tiny surgical tools. Smaller openings minimize postoperative discomfort and risk of infection. City of Hope researchers are working to develop a miniaturized surgical system that will allow brain surgeries to be even less invasive, with an even lower risk of complications.

Our neurosurgeons also work closely with radiation and medical oncologists so that multiple treatments can be performed in one procedure. For example, after resection they can apply chemotherapy directly to the surgery site, which can kill remaining tumor cells and reduce the likelihood of recurrence.

City of Hope is at the forefront of brain tumor research. We are constantly developing new therapies to eradicate your cancer and minimize side effects. We conduct a wide variety of clinical trials, many of them not available to the general public. Our latest research covers many areas, including: gene therapy and neural stem cell therapy to more effectively deliver cancer-fighting drugs directly to tumors; immunotherapy agents applied through miniature nanotubes; microdialysis catheters to circumvent the “blood-brain barrier.”

City of Hope is currently enrolling patients with newly developed or recurrent brain tumors for clinical trials. If you are interested in learning our clinical trials or in referring a patient for enrollment, please call 626-471-9393 or email at [email protected]. For a summary of this study including the full eligibility criteria, visit City of Hope’s clinical trials website at http://clinicaltrials.coh.org

City of Hope currently has many clinical trials in progress, a number of which address malignant brain tumors. Clinical trials offer patients new and promising experimental treatments not available elsewhere. In fact, nearly one in two patients at City of Hope is part of a clinical trial. These trials evaluate the safety and efficacy of prospective therapies. Participants in clinical trials receive excellent care and are closely monitored. We encourage all brain tumor patients to participate in clinical trials since that will enable us to find better treatments for brain tumors.

For more information about the brain tumor studies listed below including eligibility criteria, please call: 626-471-9393. For a summary of these studies including eligibility criteria, visit the City of Hope clinical trials website.

New Clinical Studies for Recurrent Glioblastoma

IRB #13384: Phase I Study of Cellular Immunotherapy Using Central Memory Enriched T Cells Lentivirally Transduced to Express an IL13Rα2-Specific, Hinge-Optimized, 41BB-Costimulatory Chimeric Antigen Receptor and a Truncated CD19 for Patients with Recurrent/Refractory Malignant Glioma

In this ‘first in human’ clinical study, we are evaluating the safety and feasibility of reprogramming a patient’s own immune system to target malignant glioma. For this study, white blood cells known as T cells are isolated and engineered to express a protein of novel design called a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). This CAR instructs the T cells to recognize and kill target cells that express IL13Rα2, a receptor readily detected on the majority of malignant gliomas, but not on normal brain tissue.

Research participants will be enrolled on one of two treatment arms based on surgical need: 1) tumor resection or 2) tumor biopsy for non-resectable tumors.  At the time of surgery, a catheter system will be placed for local delivery of the reprogrammed T cells at the tumor site.  Following recovery from surgery and cell manufacture, research participants will receive weekly injections of the CAR T cells for 3-weeks, with an option for an additional 3-week treatment course.

Patient Eligibility Requirements:

  • Patient has had a prior, histologically-confirmed diagnosis of a grade III or grade IV glioma.
  • Radiographic evidence of progression/recurrence of the measurable disease more than 12 weeks after the end of radiation therapy.
  • COH clinical pathology to confirm IL13Rα2+ tumor expression by immunohistochemistry.
  • Karnofsky Performance Score ≥60%.
  • Male or female research participants between 18-75 years of age.

If you are interested in learning more about this clinical trial or in referring a patient for enrollment, please call 626-471-9393 or email [email protected].  For a summary of this study including the full eligibility criteria, visit City of Hope’s clinical trials website at http://clinicaltrials.coh.org and enter “13384” in the keyword search.

IRB# 13401: A Phase I Study of Cytosine Deaminase-Expressing Neural Stem Cells with Oral 5-Fluorocytosine and Leucovorin for Treatment of Recurrent High-Grade Gliomas

Neural Stem Cells (NSCs) have a natural ability to home to tumor cells throughout the brain. They can be genetically-modified to produce chemotherapy at sites of tumor. Neural stem cells are being investigated as a possible treatment for brain tumors.



During removal or biopsy of tumor, research participants will receive local injections of genetically-modified NSCs. These NSCs express the activating enzyme cytosine deaminase (CD), which converts the prodrug 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) into the chemotherapy agent 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). Research participants will then take 5-FC orally for seven days. As the 5-FC crosses into the brain, the CD-expressing NSCs (which have migrated to residual cancer sites) are expected to convert the 5-FC into 5-FU. The 5-FU and its toxic metabolites will diffuse out of the NSC to preferentially kill rapidly dividing tumor cells. It is hoped that this strategy will have a large “bystander effect,” meaning that one NSC can kill off many surrounding tumor cells while minimizing toxicity to healthy tissues. Some study patients will also take leucovorin with 5-FC. Leucovorin is an oral medication that can help 5-FU work better against cancer cells. A Rickham catheter, placed in the brain at the time of surgery, will be used to administer additional doses of NSCs every 2 weeks, followed each time by 7 day courses of oral 5-FC (and possibly leucovorin).

Partial Eligibility Requirements:

  • Patient has had a prior, histologically-confirmed diagnosis of a grade III or grade IV glioma (including glioblastoma, anaplastic astrocytoma, gliosarcoma, anaplastic oligodendroglioma or anaplastic oligoastrocytoma.)
  • Patient is at least 18 years old
  • Patient is eligible for a debulking craniotomy or biopsy independent of intended treatment with genetically-modified NSCs and 5-FC.
  • Patient's high-grade glioma has recurred or progressed after chemoradiation.

If you are interested in learning more about this clinical trial or in referring a patient for enrollment, please call 626-471-9393 or email at [email protected]. For a summary of this study including the full eligibility criteria, visit City of Hope’s clinical trials website at http://clinicaltrials.coh.org and enter “13401” in the keyword search.

Additional clinical studies include:

Newly Diagnosed

IRB #11180: A Phase III Clinical Trial Evaluating DCVax®-Brain, Autologous Dendritic Cells Pulsed with Tumor Lysate Antigen for the Treatment of Glioblastoma

Recurrent Disease

IRB #13116: A Phase I Gene Therapy Trial of the Safety and Tolerability of Toca 511 in patients Recurrent High Grade Glioma



TOCA 511 & TOCA FC mechanism

This is a very exciting new experimental gene therapy treatment for high grade brain tumors. The basic concept is that a virus (Toca 511) is injected into the tumor. This virus was designed to infect only the brain tumor cells and leave the normal cells alone. When it infects a cell, it adds a gene to the cell which encodes for an enzyme that can convert an antibiotic drug (Toca FC) into a toxic chemotherapy (5-FU), selectively in the tumor. This drug (Toca FC) is given orally every few weeks, and it kills the tumor cells that have enough copies of this enzyme to convert Toca FC to 5-FU. The tumor cells that are infected but don't have enough of the enzyme act as a reservoir - they start the process over again - spreading the infection for a few more weeks, and these cycles are repeated over and over again until the entire tumor is potentially gone.
If you were diagnosed with Recurrent High Grade Glioma (HGG) (glioblastoma multiforme, anaplastic astrocytoma, anaplastic oligodendroglioma and anaplastic oligoastrocytoma) that have increased in size following treatment with surgery, radiation therapy and temozolomide. The Toca 511 and Toca FC studies might be the studies for you.
Who can participate in the Toca 511 & Toca FC studies? You may qualify for a Toca 511 & Toca FC study if you:
•    Are at least 18 years old (upper limit of 80 years in one of the studies)
•    Have recurrent HGG
Your doctor will be able to review with you these and other eligibility criteria. For more information about the Toca 511 & Toca FC studies, please contact Jana Portnow M.D. or Behnam Badie M.D. at  626-471-9393 or visit www.tocagen.com.

Non-Therapeutic Trials

IRB #11320: Feasibility of Intraoperative Optical Imaging and Spectroscopy in Brain Tumors
IRB #13459: Phase 2, Open-Label, Imaging Trial of I-124-CLR1404 in Patients with Newly Diagnosed or Recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme. (CELLECTAR)

Learn more about additional brain tumor clinical trials.


When you come to City of Hope, you automatically gain access to an unparalleled array of support services to help you and your family take each step during and after your brain tumor treatment. We can help with all of these concerns, and more:

  • Managing side effects and symptoms
  • Pain management
  • Navigating the health care system
  • Your emotional, social and spiritual health
  • Handling and coping with stress
  • Staying healthy and active
  • Healthy cooking and eating
  • Healing arts
  • Caregiver skills
  • Restoring normalcy in your family, job or school routine

Learn more about these resources at our Living with Cancer or Supportive Care Medicine sites.

Additional Resources:




We deliver exquisite care at the leading edge of cancer treatment. It takes the help of a lot of caring people to make hope a reality for our patients. City of Hope was founded by individuals' philanthropic efforts over 100 years ago. Their efforts - and those of our supporters today - have built the foundation for the care we provide and the research we conduct. It enables City of Hope to strive for new breakthroughs and better therapies - helping more people enjoy longer, better lives.





Julie Hara
Senior Development Officer
Phone: 626-218-0869
Email: [email protected]

Or, you can Donate Now to make a gift to support all the research at City of Hope.

Watch and read City of Hope brain tumor experts on prevention, screening, treatment and research topics on our Breakthroughs Blog.

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