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Promise and Progress - A Safer Way to Treat Pediatric Brain Cancers

Reprogramming Cancer Cells - The Story of Epigenetics
Issue No. 1

A Safer Way to Treat Pediatric Brain Cancers

Date: July 16, 2014

Neuro-Oncology, November 2013

Activity in a known genetic pathway was linked to difficult-to-treat pediatric brain cancers, known as low-grade gliomas.  Pediatric cancer clinician-scientist Eric Raabe, M.D., Ph.D., and neuropathologists Fausto Rodriguez, M.D., and Charles Eberhart, M.D., Ph.D., found in laboratory studies that the mTOR pathway was highly active in these pediatric cancers and used an experimental drug to block mTOR signaling.  It resulted in decreased growth of the tumors. 

Low-grade gliomas are the most common group of tumors of the central nervous system in children. Therapy, which typically includes surgery and chemotherapy, can cause significant side effects, such as blindness, paralysis, and learning disorders.  Dr. Raabe’s work is focused on finding better and safer treatments.  He plans to begin animal studies and test additional mTOR inhibitors.

The research was funded by The Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation, the PLGA Foundation, the Pilocytic/Pilomyxoid Fund, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, and Ian’s Friend Foundation.

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