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Stefan Lang – 2023 Research Grant Recipient

Generously funded by Donors of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada

Stefan LangStefan Lang – University of British Columbia, BC

Project Title: “Simulating brain tumor resection to optimize onco-functional balance”

Description of Project:

Cognition (i.e. attention, memory and decision-making) is critical for quality of life in low-grade glioma patients. Preserving cognitive abilities is increasingly seen as an objective surgery. It is known that brain networks are involved in cognitive abilities, and surgery can have an impact on these networks. However, in many cases surgeons may not know if a certain surgical plan will have detrimental effects on brain networks and cognition. This often means surgeons cannot predict if their surgical plan will result in damage to these networks and a decline in cognitive function. To overcome this, virtual brain models could be used to simulate the effects of a proposed surgery on cognitive brain networks before the real surgery takes place. These models can be personalized using patient MRI data. In this project, we aim to assess the use of these virtual models in predicting cognitive outcomes in low-grade glioma patients. These virtual brain surgery simulations might one day allow surgeons to customize surgical approaches to safely remove the maximum amount of tumor while minimizing cognitive deficits.

What receiving this award means:

Being honored with the 2023 Brain Tumor Foundation of Canada Research Grant is a pivotal step for my nascent lab, propelling a high-risk, high-reward project. This grant not only provides essential funding but also validates the innovative potential of our work. Ultimately, we hope to use advanced MRI and computational modelling to strike a critical balance in tumor removal, maximizing patient outcomes while minimizing functional impairment.