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Atlas mapping brain tumors’ variability published

May 11, 2018

Glioblastoma is the most deadly and aggressive form of brain cancer. High levels of variability within a single glioblastoma have proven a major roadblock to developing long-lasting therapies, as mutations quickly arise in the tumors that lead to drug resistance.

With funding from The Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation, scientists at the Allen Institute for Brain Science and Swedish Neuroscience Institute created the Ivy Glioblastoma Atlas Project, or Ivy GAP, a comprehensive atlas mapping both molecular and anatomic variability in glioblastomas. Today, Ivy GAP researchers published an article in the journal Science describing the atlas, which now holds data from 41 different patients, as well as an accompanying database containing clinical and genomic information.

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“Ivy GAP gives researchers around the world a foundational resource for exploring the anatomic and genetic basis of glioblastoma at the cellular and molecular levels,” said Mike Hawrylycz, Ph.D., Investigator at the Allen Institute for Brain Science and one of the corresponding authors on the study.

Scientists in the community are using the atlas for different research projects. In one example, researchers led by a neurosurgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital used Ivy GAP’s local regional tumor analysis to more effectively identify drug target site efficacy in patients with glioblastoma. Another team of researchers led by a neuro-oncologist at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine used the atlas to examine the variability of drug target expression within tumors.

“It’s gratifying to see this project used by so many investigators in the research community to address clinically relevant questions,” said Ralph Puchalski, Ph.D., lead scientist on the project and now a research scientist at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute. “Several recent studies which used the Ivy GAP demonstrate the impact it’s having in the field of neuro-oncology.”

Learn more in the press release.