Donors support new ways to treat tumors for testing

The 2017 Aurora Gala will celebrate and benefit the important research and innovation going on at Aurora Health Care. When you think of research, you probably think of scientists like Dr. Amber LaCrosse (pictured below) looking through a microscope. But you may not realize how research efforts like hers will hopefully translate into medical breakthroughs or new treatment options for patients. Aurora always keeps patient care at very heart of what we do.

For example, the spread of cancer to the brain from other primary tumors, such as breast cancer, is occurring more frequently, creating an urgent need to identify the underlying molecular factors and test drugs against those targets.

To find these molecular targets, researchers need to understand how cancer grows and spreads. One model to test this involves growing the tumors in scientifically engineered mouse avatars from human tumor cells.

Dr. Amber LaCrosse studies the spread of primary tumors to the brain.

Postdoctoral fellow Amber LaCrosse, PhD, and a team at Aurora Research Institute determined a potential new way to generate multiple tumor specimens that display the patient’s characteristics. They implant the tumor cells through the cerebral aqueduct rather than the traditional method that utilizes the striatum, located toward the center of the brain.

Cells from the first-generation tumors were then used to grow second and third generations of tumors. Testing of the tumor masses confirmed that the third-generation cells retained key characteristics of the original patient tumor. This new method of implantation may help with the diagnosis and treatment of patients with brain metastases in the future.

Dr. LaCrosse’s findings  were made possible by a grant from the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation, which supports Aurora Cancer Care programs and research. If you would like to learn more about other research and innovation at Aurora, read our latest issue of Inspire magazine. You can read it online by CLICKING HERE. You can also make a gift in support of the Aurora Gala by going to

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