DUKE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE / UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA

Although enormous effort is being put into discovering new and better treatment options for children with brain cancer, in the end clinicians need a guide that lets them know in advance how well treatments will work in each child. Testing new drugs directly on patient biopsies would be ideal, but this has not been possible and current model systems are not rapid enough to guide clinical decisions due to slow engraftment and high failure rate. Our team asked: “What if we could test drugs against a patient’s own biopsy fast enough to guide clinical decisions?”

Through a new collaboration between Duke and UNC Chapel Hill, our team is working on a radical new approach that combines living tissue brain slices with patient biopsies to recapitulate the clinical brain cancer phenotype. Our innovative approach builds on 20 years of data in generating live brain slice substrates that allow patient tumor cells to establish within hours, maintains high genetic fidelity, is compatible with screening of multiple therapies, all within several days — fast enough to point clinicians to the drugs that are functionally proven to kill each patient’s tumor most effectively.

Leveraging the resources across UNC and Duke, our team seeks to be the first to profile and perform drugs screens on primary pediatric cancer biopsies using the slice platform. We’ll do this with our new method that allows readouts in just a matter of days, fast enough to eventually guide clinical decisions. Our milestones will demonstrate the safety and tumor-killing potential of different clinically-relevant treatment options against patient-derived cells, as well as the genomic profile of both sensitive and resistant tumor populations. This innovative platform will be the first of its kind, providing a brand new tool to better understand pediatric cancer as well as guide clinical care towards effective treatments. We believe this approach holds potential to disrupt the standard of care by moving therapy away from more general and toxic standard chemotherapy/radiation and towards effective personalized tumor-specific therapies. Most importantly, this platform will empower clinicians with a functional guide to select the most effective therapy capable of treating pediatric brain cancer, and provide patients with hope.

Read more: www.dailytarheel.com/article/2019/10/cancer-technology-1025

Our Research Partnerships

To date, Ian’s Friends Foundation has committed millions of dollars toward pediatric brain tumor research at the cutting-edge research institutions listed below.

Long-term goal is to improve understanding of tumor metabolism to design more effective therapies.
Long-term goal is to improve understanding of tumor metabolism to design more effective therapies.
New biorepository will provide the technology to grow and store cancer cells for use in brain tumor research.
New biorepository will provide the technology to grow and store cancer cells for use in brain tumor research.
Together, these Atlanta institutions pioneer the use of nanotechnology to gauge tumor size, stop tumor growth, and shrink tumors.
Together, these Atlanta institutions pioneer the use of nanotechnology to gauge tumor size, stop tumor growth, and shrink tumors.
Research focused on uncovering the mechanisms by which gene fusions contribute to tumor formation in pediatric low grade gliomas.
Research focused on uncovering the mechanisms by which gene fusions contribute to tumor formation in pediatric low grade gliomas.
Objective is to determine if an electrical stimulations regimen can arrest the division of dividing brain tumor cells.
Objective is to determine if an electrical stimulations regimen can arrest the division of dividing brain tumor cells.
Working to find biomarkers for brain tumors to make the diagnosis of tumor types easier, track their growth or even, no recurrence.
Working to find biomarkers for brain tumors to make the diagnosis of tumor types easier, track their growth or even, no recurrence.
Research establishing the feasibility of using interstitial infusion for treating pediatric brain stem gliomas. FDA approved clinical trial underway.
Research establishing the feasibility of using interstitial infusion for treating pediatric brain stem gliomas. FDA approved clinical trial underway.
Research focused on proteins which are active in pediatric low-grade gliomas. From this research, NYU hopes to better select molecular targeted drugs directed at these pathways.
Research focused on proteins which are active in pediatric low-grade gliomas. From this research, NYU hopes to better select molecular targeted drugs directed at these pathways.
Research focused on using new brain imaging techniques to improve diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of pediatric brain tumors.
Research focused on using new brain imaging techniques to improve diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of pediatric brain tumors.
Partnership between a physician and research scientist is examining innovative drug delivery methods for children with brain tumors.
Partnership between a physician and research scientist is examining innovative drug delivery methods for children with brain tumors.
This groundbreaking project could be the first step for the development of a variety of attractive modalities targeting therapeutic approaches beyond immunotherapy.
This groundbreaking project could be the first step for the development of a variety of attractive modalities targeting therapeutic approaches beyond immunotherapy.
Discovery regarding cancer cells' ability to hijack the brain's nerves could lead to new treatment avenues for aggressive brain tumors.
Discovery regarding cancer cells' ability to hijack the brain's nerves could lead to new treatment avenues for aggressive brain tumors.
Developing a strategy to ensure rapid translation of new drug candidates into clinical trials of medulloblastomas is a collaborative effort.
Developing a strategy to ensure rapid translation of new drug candidates into clinical trials of medulloblastomas is a collaborative effort.
University of Michigan Researchers aim to treat Pediatric Brain Tumors through the combination of Gene and Immune Therapy.
University of Michigan Researchers aim to treat Pediatric Brain Tumors through the combination of Gene and Immune Therapy.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins All Children’s and Johns Hopkins University hypothesize that a group of lncRNAs, including lncRNA HLX2-7, are key molecular signatures (biomarkers) and therapeutic targets for Group III medulloblastoma in children.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins All Children’s and Johns Hopkins University hypothesize that a group of lncRNAs, including lncRNA HLX2-7, are key molecular signatures (biomarkers) and therapeutic targets for Group III medulloblastoma in children.
Scientists work to establish a new system for targeting oncogenic mutations in pediatric brain tumors.
Scientists work to establish a new system for targeting oncogenic mutations in pediatric brain tumors.
Through a new collaboration between Duke and UNC Chapel Hill, our team is working on a radical new approach that combines living tissue brain slices with patient biopsies to recapitulate the clinical brain cancer phenotype.
Through a new collaboration between Duke and UNC Chapel Hill, our team is working on a radical new approach that combines living tissue brain slices with patient biopsies to recapitulate the clinical brain cancer phenotype.