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UNC Health hosted the Weatherspoon inaugural brain tumor mini-symposium at UNC Health last week featuringDr. Nelson Oyesiku and Dr. Timothy Gershon presentations from UNC faculty and keynote speaker, Dr. Timothy Gershon from Emory School of Medicine.

Dr. Gershon’s research aims to understand the rules and instructions brain tumors are following and how he can use that knowledge to devise new and more targeted treatments for brain tumor patients. Dr. Gershon’s presentation, “CT-179: Targeting stem cell transcription factor OLIG2 for medulloblastoma therapy” outlines his research on CT-179, a drug that targets stem cells in brain tumors, and using it to target the gene OLIG2. Dr. Gershon believes that disrupting the gene OLIG2 with CT-179 will prevent the stem cell from regrowing the tumors.

Neuro oncologist Dr. Soma Sengupta planned and hosted the event. “The Weatherspoon family dedicated the funds to the brain tumor program. It was a day of discussing novel brain tumor research,” said Dr. Sengupta.

The symposium aims to raise awareness about pediatric brain cancer and give patients and medical professionals the opportunity to learn from experts in the field. The event included a virtual option so patients and health care providers could attend remotely.

Neurosurgical oncologist Dr. Dominique Higgins presented his research on targeting metabolism in glioblastoma (GBM), and neuro oncologist Dr. Yasmeen Rauf presented her research and the current CAR-T clinical trials at UNC Health for GBM patients. Both faculty members are actively involved in ongoing brain tumor clinical trials at UNC Health.

The event also included presentations from UNC faculty members Dr. Andrew Satterlee, Dr. Ben Cho, and Dr. Julie Necarsulmer. Dr. Sengupta and Dr. Daniel Pomeranz Krummel’s research lab technician, Caroline Mohammed, presented the lab’s research that spans cancer neuroscience, offering therapeutic options in a number of different cancers. Dr. Pomeranz Krummel is working with UNC KickStart Venture Services to move the drugs into start up phase. “Particularly moving, was Dr Satterlee’s presentation, slice technology for brain tumors, spoken as a scientist and as a cancer survivor,” said Dr. Sengupta.

Learn more about ongoing brain tumor research and clinic trials at UNC Health.