The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke


The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University Medical Center is one of the largest and most successful in the field. It has received the highest rating of "Outstanding" by a National Cancer Institute peer review group's evaluation of the Duke Cancer Institute. Dedicated entirely to the treatment and cure of brain and spinal tumors in children and adults, we combine the resources of a leading research hub with a commitment to the best in patient care.

For more than 75 years, the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center has been a destination for patients seeking the most advanced treatments, often with therapies not available anywhere else. Our patients are the reason we strive to deliver hope every day and in the years to come.

Read the complete history and accomplishments of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center.

 Adult Neuro-Oncology

Dr. Henry Friedman
Dr. Henry S. Friedman

Dr. Annick Desjardins
Dr. Annick Desjardins
Dr. Katherine Peters
Dr. Katherine Peters
Dr. Tulika Ranjan
Dr. Tulika Ranjan
Dr. Gordana Vlahovic
Dr. Gordana Vlahovic

Pediatric Neuro-Oncology

Dr. Sridharan Gururangan
Dr. Sridharan Gururangan
Dr. Oren Becher
Dr. Oren Becher

Targeting Cancer with Genetically Engineered Poliovirus (PVS-RIPO)

 Matthias Gromeier, MD

Dr. Matthias Gromeier

A Brief Background About PVS-RIPO.
PVS-RIPO is a genetically engineered poliovirus that is being investigated as a new anti-cancer agent at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke. The idea of targeting cancer with viruses has been around for at least 100 years. However, valid strategies of using ‘oncolytic’ (cancer-fighting) viruses emerged only recently. This is mostly due to technological advances in genetic engineering of viruses.

To work against cancers in patients, oncolytic viruses must target cancer cells for infection and they must kill them. At the same time, they must be safe. Accomplishing this is very difficult scientifically and only very few viruses are suitable as cancer-fighting agents in the clinic. We achieved this feat by genetic engineering to remove poliovirus’ inherent disease-causing ability (a piece of genetic code of a cold-causing rhinovirus was spliced into the poliovirus genome). PVS-RIPO naturally infects almost all cancer cells, because the receptor for poliovirus (which is used for cell entry) is abnormally present on most tumor cells. PVS-RIPO kills cancer cells, but not normal cells, because its ability to grow (and kill) depends on biochemical abnormalities only present in cancer cells. Safety testing in non-human primates and human patients has shown no nerve cell killing, no ability to cause poliomyelitis, and no ability of PVS-RIPO to change back to wild type poliovirus that can cause poliomyelitis.


Visit one of our research centers

Basic and
Clinical Research

Pediatric Brain Tumor
Foundation Institute
at Duke

NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center

A member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Duke University Health System

Save The Date

The 2014 Angels Among Us 
5K Run and 3K Family Walk
will be held April 26, 2014.
Registration is now OPEN!

Find out more...

And, don't forget to check out the Angels Among Us Challenge Grant!

Get the details here...


Links of Interest

Videos of Interest

"Surgery, radiation and chemo didn't stop the tumor, but an experimental treatment did." Read this article in the Washington Post by a patient who participated in the Poliovirus Vaccine Trial.

Poliovirus Vaccine Trial Shows Promise for Recurrent Glioblastoma. Watch this video update of one of the first patients to participate in this trial.

Immortality Gene Mutation Identifies Brain Tumors and Other Cancers. Newly identified mutations in a gene that makes cells immortal appear to play a pivotal role in three of the most common types of brain tumors, as well as cancers of the liver, tongue and urinary tract, according to research led by Duke Cancer Institute. Read more...

Therapy Dog comes to the Brain Tumor Clinic once a week and wins the hearts of patients, families, visitors, and staff.
Meet Aspen...

A look at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center's aspirations and history, with interviews of Dr. Darell Bigner and Dr. Henry Friedman. Read the full article by Taylor Arnold in the Raleigh Metro Magazine

The Brain Tumor Center now has a peer support matching program. 
Find out more...

Elusive Gene Mutations Found for Malignant Brain Tumor
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Researchers Demystify a Fountain of Youth in the Adult Brain.
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