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$13 Million Grant to Study Malignant Brain Tumors Awarded to YSPH Researcher and Colleagues

November 02, 2021

A team of scientists led by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health has received a $13 million grant to investigate the molecular evolution of lower grade gliomas, slow growing but malignant brain tumors that primarily affect young adults.

One of the most important questions in the field of neuro-oncology is how best to manage and treat lower grade glioma (LGG). To better understand how these tumors evolve over time the researcher will enroll 500 participants diagnosed with LGG and who have had two or more surgeries for their glioma. The team will extensively genotype these tumors to establish a comprehensive genomic characterization of the tumors across time.

“Our study will be the first large-scale and patient-engaged effort to provide a comprehensive genomic characterization of the evolution from primary LGG to recurrence,” said the project’s lead researcher Elizabeth B. Claus, MD, PhD, professor of biostatistics and director of medical research at Yale School of Public Health and an attending neurosurgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “By engaging a variety of LGG stakeholders as equal partners in the research process, we hope this project will translate into clinical benefit for patients with LGG.”

The researchers received funding for the project, titled OPTimIzing engageMent in discovery of molecular evolUtion of low grade glioMa, or OPTIMUM, from the National Cancer Institutes.

Claus launched the International Low-Grade Glioma Registry in 2016 to discover why some people develop LGG while others do not. The goal of the registry is also to learn more about the effect of this diagnosis and the associated treatments on daily life including the ability to work, drive, sleep, exercise, or take care of oneself and/or a family member. The current study will build upon the existing registry but focus on persons with recurrent glioma to understand how treatment may change the genetic makeup of glioma tumors.

This is a group of patients diagnosed in the prime of life but for whom the optimal treatment remains unknown.

Elizabeth Claus

“This is a group of patients diagnosed in the prime of life but for whom the optimal treatment remains unknown,” said Claus.

The project will enroll participants from across the United States using both social media and direct enrollment at a variety of medical centers, including Yale and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The project will include researchers from Yale, the Jackson Laboratory, the University of Colorado, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

For further information or to learn about enrolling in the study, contact or @gliomaregistry on Twitter or visit or

Submitted by Ivette Aquilino on November 02, 2021