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New grant awarded to City of Hope researchers seeks to advance glioblastoma treatment

Behman Badie Profile
Behnam Badie, M.D.
City of Hope’s Brain Tumor Program is constantly looking at ways to improve care in the field of neurological cancers by combining innovative research with expert care. Our team of neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, researchers, nurses, radiation oncologists and genetic counselors work together closely at all stages to provide seamless, coordinated care. This is why we are proud to announce that our very own Jana Portnow, M.D., and Behnam Badie, M.D., The Heritage Provider Network Professor in Gene Therapy, were one of five awardees of a five-year multi-institutional grant to join the National Cancer Institute’s Glioblastoma Therapeutics Network (GTN).
The GTN seeks to develop novel agents for treatment of glioblastoma (GBM) through a unique combination of approaches to advance the treatment of patients with GBM by addressing tumor heterogeneity, blood-brain barrier penetration and the immunosuppressive GBM tumor microenvironment.
This grant, titled “Development of Small Molecule Inhibitors and Biologic Agents for Treatment of Glioblastoma Using Intracerebral Microdialysis and Signatures of Vulnerability,” incorporates two innovative tools to address major barriers in drug development:
  1. Intracerebral microdialysis to rationally select appropriate systemically administered therapies for testing in GBM patients
  2. Next generation exome and transcriptome sequencing to identify molecular “signatures of vulnerability” that can guide patient selection for clinical trial enrollment
The GTN U19 Team encompasses three projects across three different institutions — City of Hope, Translational Genomics Research Institute and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) — to advance treatment:
Project 1, titled “An engineered oncolytic herpes virus expressing a full-length α-CD47 mAb for the treatment of GBM,” is a collaboration between City of Hope researcher Jianhua Yu, Ph.D., and UAB researcher James Markert, M.D.
Project 2, titled “Development of tasquinimod as an adjunct to enhance the efficacy of anti-GBM immunotherapies administered peri-operatively,” is an effort led by City of Hope researchers Portnow and Badie.
Project 3, titled “Signature-guided treatment of GBM with neddylation inhibitor pevonedistat,” is a joint effort by TGen researcher Michael Berens, Ph.D., and UAB researcher Burt Nabors, M.D.

New Clinical Trial Explores Intracerebral Treatment of Gliomas

Jana Portnow
Jana Portnow, M.D.
In addition to our work within the U19 Grant, City of Hope is also looking at innovative ways to advance glioma treatment with a new clinical trial entitled “A Phase I Study of Multiple Doses of Neural Stem Cell-Based Oncolytic Virotherapy (NSC-CRAd-S-pk7) Administered Intracerebrally to Patients with Recurrent High-Grade Gliomas.”
This study, led by Jana Portnow, M.D., seeks to gain insight into the effects of NSC-CRAd-S-pk7 (neural stem cells that carry a virus, which can kill cancer cells) as a possible treatment for recurrent high-grade gliomas, a type of brain tumor. Neural stem cells (NSCs) have the ability to travel through the brain to target tumors. CRAd is an adenovirus that has been modified for the purpose of this study to only infect and kill glioma cells. Participants in this study will be given NSC-CRAd-S-pk7 injections directly into their brain. The NSCs will act as carriers and deliver the oncolytic virus to distant sites of tumor cells while protecting CRAd-S-pk7 from being destroyed by the body’s immune system.
Results of this study will help determine if NSC-CRAd-S-pk7 can be used as an effective treatment for high-grade gliomas.
To enroll a patient  in this clinical trial, please contact is or visit for more information.