Brain Cancer Research and Clinical Trials


The Hermelin Brain Tumor Center is active in brain cancer research at our own laboratories and through some of the most promising national and international clinical trials. Collectively, these studies help to increase our understanding of brain tumor processes and the most effective ways to detect, diagnose, treat and prevent brain cancer and related conditions. Ultimately, our extensive efforts help to break new ground in critical areas of brain cancer research, while advancing the level of care that we provide to our patients.

Brain cancer research laboratories

Since their inception in 1992, the Hermelin Brain Tumor Center brain cancer research laboratories have made significant discoveries, including the identification of more than 40 genetic markers specific to brain tumors. In their quest, our researchers benefit from genetic fingerprinting made possible by the Center’s tumor bank -- the third largest in the world, housing more than 3,000 brain tumor tissue samples as well as corresponding treatment and outcome data.

Brain tumor clinical trials

Research conducted at the Hermelin Brain Tumor Center laboratories also has brought new brain cancer research therapies to clinical trials and influenced the development of new therapeutic agents:

  • We are the first clinical site in the world for the GBM AGILE Trial (Adaptive Global Innovative Learning Environment). The trial aims to identify the most effective therapies for patients with glioblastoma. GBM AGILE can test multiple therapies concurrently against a control, allowing more patients access to experimental therapies. This first-ever adaptive platform trial for brain cancer is a major step forward for precision medicine.
  • We are one of a select group of centers nationally to be charged by the National Cancer Institute to deliver new treatments through the Adult Brain Tumor Consortium, the Brain Tumor Trials Collaborative (BTTC) and NRG Oncology.
  • Through this participation, our patients have access to the latest brain tumor clinical trials, including new approaches in metastatic brain cancer treatment, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, palliative care research as well as novel therapies.
  • In fact, a significant percentage of our patients -- approximately 40 percent -- are enrolled in studies of the latest therapeutics. This represents one of the highest enrollment rates in the United States for new brain tumor therapies.
  • When you participate in a brain tumor clinical trial, you may have the potential to benefit first from the new drug, device or other approach being studied.
  • Whenever possible, treatment focuses on eradicating the cancer safely while conserving the healthy brain and spinal cord.
  • Ultimately, the collective knowledge gained from this type of brain cancer research helps to develop new standards of care that benefit all patients.

How a brain tumor clinical trial works

Brain tumor clinical trials consist of voluntary medical research and drug development studies that are conducted in people. They are designed to generate safety and efficacy data for brain tumor treatments, such as:

  • Drugs
  • Devices
  • Therapeutic procedures
  • New ways of using existing treatments or devices
  • New ways to reduce symptoms caused by brain tumors or their therapy

Other clinical trials focus on improving quality of life for people who have a brain tumor. All clinical trials conducted in the United States must adhere to a strict, predetermined protocol and must be approved and monitored by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) composed of physicians, scientists, statisticians and laypeople who are responsible for ensuring that any risks are minimal relative to the potential benefits of the study.

Participating in a brain tumor clinical trial

Not all patients are eligible to enroll in a clinical trial, a decision that is made by your care team in conjunction with you and your family as part of your overall personalized treatment plan.

Here is a list of our current clinical trials.

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