Introducing Claudia Petritsch – Gaining Ground in Glioma Research 

bridges, vol. 31, October 2011 / News from the Network: Austrian Researchers Abroad

By Martina Stadlbauer

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petritsch_claudia_small.jpgDr. Claudia Petritsch

“There is no cure for glioma, yet. This type of brain tumor can be so aggressive that it kills patients within a year,” says Claudia Petritsch, an assistant professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). With her team, Petritsch investigates the cellular origins of brain tumors and how these cells turn from normal brain cells into brain tumor cells. Just a few weeks ago, in September, Petrisch published her most recent research findings in an article titled “Asymmetry-Defective Oligodendrocyte Progenitors Are Glioma Precursors” in the journal Cancer Cell.

Her research was made possible by the collaborative culture at UCSF, as Petritsch points out. Her lab is situated at the Helen Diller Cancer Research Center but also is affiliated with the Brain Tumor Research Center and Department of Neurological Surgery and the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine. These affiliations, where doctors and scientists are in contact with each other on a daily basis, allow for great collaborative work, she says. “The neuro-oncologists work really well together with basic researchers. This creates an interplay of translational and basic research – I don’t see patients but I see their doctors,” says Petritsch. “There is always an open door; I can go to tumor board and hear the neuro-oncologists discussing their patients and they come to our basic research seminars. Moreover, we get surgical tissue from brain tumor patients on the day of the operation for our analyses. Seeing the frustration of the doctors about lacking efficient treatment motivates us lab researchers to work towards a better understanding of this terrible disease. My lab does its share by helping to understand the role that stem and progenitor cells play in gliomas.”

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