Leptomeningeal disease is a rare complication of several different types of cancer, including melanoma. It occurs when tumor cells migrate to the cerebrospinal fluid and the tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal column known as the meninges. Patients who develop leptomeningeal disease have a very poor prognosis and typically survive only three to six months after diagnosis. These poor outcomes are partly due to the lack of model systems to study the disease in a laboratory. In a new article published in Neuro-Oncology, Moffitt Cancer Center researchers showed for the first time that patient-derived circulating tumor cells can be cultured from the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with leptomeningeal disease, and that those cells could be used to identify potential drug targets.