The mission of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Neuro-Oncology (NO) Program is improve treatment options and therapies for adult and pediatric brain cancer patients through multidisciplinary, translational research.

The primary scientific interests and programmatic objectives of the Program are:

  1. To examine the cellular and molecular biology of human primary neuroglial malignancies and their resultant cellular behaviors responsible for morbidity and mortality in patients;
  2. To incorporate basic science observations of primary neuroglial tumor biology into translational research that can directly lead to development of new diagnostic, prognostic (biomarker) or therapeutic clinical protocols for primary, recurrent or metastatic brain tumors;
  3. To provide the highest level of clinical care for patients with nervous system cancers and conduct innovative, investigator-initiated clinical trials in neuro-oncology;
  4. To ensure that patients in the catchment area are served and that differences in the behavior of therapeutic responsiveness of primary neuroglial tumors in African American patients are identified and addressed;
  5. To educate physicians and scientists interested in brain tumor biology and treatment.


nabors_thumbnailBurt Nabors, M.D., received his M.D. degree from the University of Tennessee in Memphis in 1991 and interned at the National Naval Medical Center before serving as a Flight Surgeon in the US Navy for 3 years. He completed a residency in Neurology at UAB in 1998 and a fellowship in Neuro-oncology in 1999 under the direction of Dr. Steven S. Rosenfeld. He joined the Neuro-Oncology Program in 1999 as an Assistant Professor of Neurology and assumed the position of Program Leader in 2005. He is board-certified in Neurology and holds medical licensure in Alabama. In 2003, he assumed the role as Principal Investigator of the U01 grant (U01 CA76607) to allow UAB to participate in the New Approaches to Brain Tumor Therapy (NABTT) Consortium through a competitive NCI funding mechanism, and successfully obtained continued re-funding in the competitive renewal. He has served as PI of numerous protocols approved and administered through NABTT. Under his direction, UAB has become one of the lead accruers to NABTT clinical protocols winning accrual awards in 4 of the last 6 periods. He has been successful in obtaining additional funding through the R21 Quick Trials program to obtain and analyze correlative biologic information in a Phase I trial of an anti-angiogenic drug, EMD121974, Cilengitide.

During his tenure as Program Leader, the Neuro-Oncology Program was admitted as a charter member of the consolidated Adult Brain Tumor Consortium as a result of his leadership activities in the Novel Approaches to Brain Tumor Therapy (NABTT) consortium supported by a NCI funding mechanism (U01 CA076607), which was successfully continued as a result of a recent competitive renewal.  During Dr. Nabor’s tenure, 5 additional members of the Program have been recruited (including two neuro-oncologists who are clinician-investigators) and further recruitments are being planned through combined efforts of the Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Brain SPORE.  Dr. Nabors serves as Director of the PCIR (Participant and Clinical Interaction Resource) of the CCTS.  He provides oversight and direction for space and nursing needs to complete early phase clinical investigations on the campus as a whole. In this capacity, he serves as a member of the Nascent Panel committee, which provides guidance, advise, and direction for junior faculty developing translational research careers.


Ichiro Nakano, M.D., Ph.D., is a neuro-oncology surgeon-scientist focused on advancing the options of surgical treatment for brain tumor patients. As a physician, Dr. Nakano strives to help his patients achieve the best possible outcome, and as a scientist he focuses on improving cancer treatment options through the translational studies of molecular and cellular characterization of primary and metastatic brain tumors. Dr. Nakano’s ultimate goal is to make a visible impact on the prognosis of brain cancer patients by developing novel and innovative therapies. By improving the understanding of the pathobiology and mechanism of therapy resistance of brain cancer, Dr. Nakano hopes his work will lead to improved treatment options for brain cancer patients.

Dr. Nakano’s research into therapy development and improvement for primary and metastatic brain tumors and has been published in more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles including Cancer Cell, Nature Neuroscience, Annals of Neurology, Stem Cells, Stem Cell Reports), Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences, Cell Reports, PLoS Biology, and the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

He is currently funded as principal investigator or co-investigator on eight NIH grants including six R01 grants (four as PI or co-PI; four as co-Investigator).

Originally from Japan, Dr. Nakano completed clinical neurosurgical training and obtained a Ph.D. at Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine. He then completed postdoctoral training in Pharmacology at UCLA School of Medicine. He served as a clinical instructor at UCLA until 2009 when he accepted a position of associate professor at The Ohio State University. Dr. Nakano then joined the UAB Department of Neurosurgery as a professor in 2015.

Dr. Nakano has served as a grant reviewer for NIH, American Cancer Society, and American Brain Tumor Association. He is an active participant in international research activities including serving as visiting professor and as an international member of the Medical Research Council of the UK. He has also received the Young Investigator Award by the National Brain Tumor Society (2009), Innovative Award by the American Brian Tumor Association (2012), and the Award by the Journal of Neuro-Oncology/the American Association for Neurological Surgery (2006).

Contact Information:

Co-Leader: L. Burt Nabors, M.D.
Phone: (205) 934-1813

Co –Leader: Ichiro Nakano, M.D., Ph.D.
Phone: (205) 996-0071

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