Dr. Ellingson

Researchers from the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center were awarded a $620,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute to develop a noninvasive imaging tool to provide information about tumor biology and behavior to better understand how brain tumors respond to new targeted treatments.

Benjamin Ellingson, director of the UCLA Brain Tumor Imaging Laboratory and professor of radiological sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and David Nathanson, associate professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the medical school, are leading a team of cancer cell biologists, physicists and clinicians who will test a novel, targeted therapy drug with new imaging technology to overcome challenges associated with brain tumor drug development.

The team will test a highly penetrant epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor developed at UCLA and specifically designed for glioblastoma, a deadly and fast-growing brain tumor. EGFR is a protein frequently mutated in about 60% of people diagnosed with glioblastoma, making it an important target for treatment. This project opens a new paradigm for brain tumor drug development using a combination of drugs designed for brain tumors and companion imaging biomarkers for predicting or monitoring treatment response to these drugs.

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CTSI congratulates Dr. Ellingson on his NCI award. As a valued member of CTSI, Dr. Ellingson has received a wide range of support, including biostatistical services and Clinical and Translational Research Center support.