Investigations of Dysregulated Metabolism in Brain & Pituitary Tumors

Quantitative Magnetic Resonance can be used to examine cellular constituents and metabolites of tissue extracts and of tissues, like tumors, that have been freshly removed from patients. It is well known that altered metabolism is a hallmark of cancer and that metabolic fingerprints of aggressive tumors have been identified. 

Cancer cells are metabolically reprogrammed and depend on multiple nutrient energy sources to meet their cellular growth and proliferation activities. Here at Peak Center we employ cutting edge technology developed here to determine the fate of 13C-labeled nutrients. We give patients an intravenous infusion of labeled nutrients, such as sugars, ketones, fats or amino acids, just before the tumor is removed. Then identify how the cancer cells metabolize these compounds, in very high detail, allowing us to know the tumors sub-type as well as their strengths and weaknesses. This will allow us to answer question like “Would a ketogenic diet be beneficial for this patient?” or “Is this sub-type of tumor highly sensitive to a particular treatment regime?”

Quantitative Magnetic Resonance provides us with a personalized tumor metabolic roadmap, highlighting the cancer cells metabolic choke-points. We now sometimes know where to hit the cancer most effectively, and this is giving rise to completely new classes of drugs. 

Energy Metabolism in Glioma Patients USing Carbon 13 C Tracers

Metabolomics of CNS Tumors

Kumar Pichumani, PhD

Associate Research Professor of Neurosurgery
Houston Methodist Academic Institute