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Tissue and Imaging Core

Joanna Phillips, MD, PhD and Tracy Richmond McKnight, PhD

Investigator, Co-Leader of Imaging and Tissue Procurement Core




Introduction to the Tissue and Imaging Core 

The overarching goal of the Tissue and Imaging Core is to provide the high degree of technical expertise required to perform and interpret advanced MR imaging studies; facilitate the collection of image guided surgical specimens; and relate the quantitative information derived from the imaging data to molecular markers of the biological properties of the tissue. It should be stressed that many of the procedures required to achieve this objective are non-standard, requiring specialized knowledge, cutting-edge equipment, and sophisticated experimental or computer analysis in order to extract the information necessary for testing the hypotheses associated with each of the Scientific Projects. The decision to create a single Core that would integrate the imaging and tissue analysis reflects the high priority placed upon acquiring image-guided samples that can provide a direct link between the clinical imaging variables extracted from the noninvasive metabolic and physiologic imaging data and the tissue markers of tumor biology.

The interaction of the Tissue and Imaging Core with the rest of the UCSF TMEN Brain Cancer Center is shown in the figure immediately below. Working closely with Co-Principal Investigators Gabriele Bergers and Valerie M. Weaver, Co-Project Leaders Joanna J. Phillips and Tracy McKnight will hold the primary responsibility for planning, directing, and executing the Imaging and Tissue Procurement activities of the TMEN U54 UCSF Brain Cancer Center.

The major purpose of the Core is to identify potential research subjects, schedule imaging acquisition, identify potential biopsy sites, procure tissue from the operating room, de-identify tissue samples, distribute fresh tumor tissue and paired non-tumor tissue, and properly handle and store tissue for future use. The Core will also provide expertise in neuroradiology, neuropathology, and morphologic analytical techniques to the UCSF TMEN Brain Cancer Center.  In addition, the Core will provide training and information with respect to the analysis of imaging and pathology variables and the optimal use and handling of human tissue.  Critical to the success of the TMEN Brain Cancer Center is access to primary brain tumor tissue and non-tumor tissue for analysis.  The organizational structure for the Imaging and Tissue Procurement Core is depicted in the figure below. The progress of tissue procurement will be monitored through monthly teleconference meetings. Our goal is to obtain fresh tissue from 3 patients every 2 months for a total accrual of 90 patients over 5 years.

The Major Functions of this Core

Diversity of density and morphology of macrophage microglia populations in GBM

Image of diversity of density and morphology of macrophage/microglia populations in GBM

Left: Patient A, Right Patient B

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