Laboratory of Translational Research

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Our research team continues to focus on the development of personalized medicine protocols. In the clinic we have implemented the use of advanced functional imaging techniques to make surgery safer, more accurate, and more effective, with fiber-tracking technology linked to our high-field intra-operative MRI scanner, one of only 25 in the country, and the only one in Michigan.

In 2012, we became the first site in the nation to deliver a trojan-horse-like viral therapy to a brain tumor in the operating room, using the intraoperative MRI. This viral therapy involves injecting into the tumor cavity a specifically-engineered virus with the ability to silently attach to, enter, and ultimately kill, tumor cells without harming the neighboring normal brain cells. We are investigating the use of "smart" stem cells, with the ability to track to tumor cells, as delivery vehicles for other targeted, cell-based, anti-tumor therapies.

We also have launched a large-scale analysis of our tumor bank, one of the largest in the world, to determine which genetic factors present in tumor cells may or may not be responsible for some patients achieving long term survival, vs. those patients with otherwise the same pathology, demographics and tumor features who do not fare as well to identify new venues of treatment.

Lastly, in conjunction with Wayne State University, we are investigating the potential applications of a brand new technology powered by Raman spectroscopy, whereby scattered light waves can be employed to determine the presence of a single cancer cell amidst multiple normal cells, leading to a more complete surgical resection and other promising treatment options.