Monje Lab News

Covid and the brain: A neurological health crisis

Even a mild SARS-CoV-2 infection can cause inflammation that disrupts neural communication, says Stanford neurologist Michelle Monje. Her concern is that Covid-19 may leave millions dealing with cognitive problems, from a loss of mental sharpness to lapses in memory, that prevent them from returning to their previous level of function

Stanford Magazine: Brains and Heart

Neurologist Michelle Monje harnesses passion and purpose as she works to cure a devastating childhood cancer.

Neuroscientist Michelle Monje awarded MacArthur 'genius grant'

Michelle Monje, MD, PhD, neuroscientist and pediatric neuro-oncologist, is being recognized for her work to understand healthy brain development and create therapies for a group of lethal brain tumors.

Michelle Monje awarded a MacArthur Fellowship

Michelle Monje, MD, PhD, has been awarded a 2021 MacArthur Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for her work advancing understanding of pediatric brain cancers and the neurological effects of cancer treatments with an eye toward improved therapies for patients.

Michelle Monje announced as a new Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator

Michelle Monje, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurology announced as 2021 Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. This seven-year appointment will support her research which targets a group of aggressive and deadly brain tumors called gliomas. These tumors arise from the glial cells that surround and support neurons. Gliomas form active electrical connections – synapses – with nearby healthy neurons and use the brain’s normal electrical signals to drive their malignant growth, her team has discovered.

Altered immune cells clear childhood brain tumor in mice

In mice, a fatal brainstem tumor was cleared by injecting it with engineered T cells that recognized the cancer and targeted it for destruction. The Stanford discovery is moving to human trials.

Combating chemo brain: Researchers zero in on causes and treatment

Michelle Monje-Deisseroth, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurology and neurological sciences, and her colleagues have recently pinpointed a possible source of chemo brain, and identified two potential therapies.

Scientists find promising drug combination against lethal childhood brain cancers

Stanford neuro-oncologist Michelle Monje teamed up with Craig Thomas at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and Kathy Warren from NCI (now at DFCI) to perform high-throughput drug screening of patient-derived cultures of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, the leading cause of brain tumor-related death in children. The study, led by MD PhD student and future neurologist Grant L. Lin, uncovered a promising two-drug combination that shows benefit in preclinical studies and will advance to clinical trial soon. The mechanism of drug-drug synergy was determined to be metabolic collapse, highlighting a key avenue for future strategies in this lethal childhood brain cancer. Stanford neurologist Kati Andreasson’s lab contributed importantly to the metabolic mechanistic studies.

Brain tumors form synapses with healthy neurons, study finds

Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have shown for the first time that severe brain cancers integrate into the brain's wiring.

Cancer cells have ‘unsettling’ ability to hijack the brain’s nerves

Tumour cells can plug into — and feed off — the brain’s complex network of neurons, according to a trio of studies. This nefarious ability could explain the mysterious behaviour of certain tumours, and point to new ways of treating cancer.

Deadly Brain Cancers Act Like 'Vampires' By Hijacking Normal Cells To Grow

Researchers are beginning to understand why certain brain cancers are so hard to stop. Three studies published in the journal Nature found that these deadly tumors integrate themselves into the brain's electrical network and then hijack signals from healthy nerve cells to fuel their own growth.

The consummate neuro-oncologist

Michelle Monje’s teenage project to aid the disabled led her to neurology and a research career that’s bringing new hope for the treatment of childhood brain cancers and the mind-fog caused by chemotherapy.

Scientists Discover A Probable Cause Of 'Chemo Brain' And It May Be Treatable

Many cancer survivors experience long-term, chronic effects from their treatment, which can last for the rest of their lives. One of the most frequently reported issues is that of 'chemo brain,' a difficult to pinpoint condition, the name coined by cancer survivors themselves, where survivors can report a range of symptoms, from feeling tired, disoriented, being forgetful and easily losing focus. Now scientists at Stanford University may have figured out why a particular drug causes chemo brain and even better, they may be able to treat or even prevent it in the future.

‘Chemo brain’ caused by malfunction in three types of brain cells

Three types of cells in the brain’s white matter show interwoven problems during the cognitive dysfunction that follows treatment with the cancer drug methotrexate, Stanford neuroscientists have found.

6-Year-Old South Bay Girl at Center of Potential Cancer Breakthrough

Jennifer Lyn Kranz died of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, an untreatable and incurable brain tumor.  But Stanford researchers announced this week that using a targeted immunotherapy treatment they were able to "nearly eradicate" human DIPG tumors implanted in mice. Cancer cells derived from Jennifer's tumor were a key part of the experiment.