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James K.  Liu, MD

James K. Liu, MD

Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery 216.778.8822 (o) 216.778.3300 (f)

Member, Molecular Oncology Program


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As an academic neurosurgeon with a subspecialty interest in neurosurgical oncology, my research efforts are based on the development of innovations that may be translated to advance the clinical treatment of brain tumors. My previous research experience involved utilizing a technique known as phage display to elucidate proteins that are vital to the maintenance of glioma stem cells (GSCs). My current research extends my previous results to evaluate additional proteins that may also serve a role in the maintenance of GSCs. Discovery of novel proteins that play a role in the functioning of GSCs will allow a greater understanding of the unique mechanisms in which these cells provide their resistance to currently available medical therapies. My current research involves applying my previous experience with phage display screening to both GSCs as well as metastatic brain tumor cells in both in vitro and in vivo settings to isolate short amino acid peptide sequences that will specifically target GSCs. I plan use these peptides to develop strategies to target brain tumor cells for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. I am currently working to collaborate with investigators in the Case Center for Imaging Research to use these peptides to detect tumor cells in vivo by tagging them with near infrared markers. This will allow the development of improved technology for early detection of brain tumors as well as early tumor recurrence. This may also lead to improved technology that will aid in visualization of tumors in the operating room for tumor resection. In addition, I plan to collaborate with investigators with expertise in viral vector and nanoparticle delivery to use the peptides to enhance drug delivery techniques to create more efficient methods of delivery of therapeutics for the treatment of brain tumors.