First clinical tumor profiling to guide therapy in relapsed leukemia
In a nationally unique program, the Division of Oncology is now creating molecular profiles of tumor cells from patients in real time in order to guide therapy. Initial efforts focus on relapsed leukemias, but the program will expand to include solid tumors. Although an array of novel molecularly targeted therapies are available to patients with relapsed and refractory cancers through consortium and investigator-initiated early phase clinical trials, it is sometimes unclear which therapies are most likely to show activity in a specific patient. Through the use of real-time tumor profiling technologies, Cincinnati Children’s oncologists can assess which molecular pathways are fueling the growth of each patient’s cancer and guide patients toward new drugs thought to be active in those pathways.
In a closely related initiative, the Childhood Cancer Drug Discovery Laboratory at Cincinnati Children’s is screening a library of more than 340,000 potential drugs against childhood and young adult cancer cells collected through our specimen banking protocols to identify new candidate drugs. Simultaneously, we are using our specimen libraries to profile large numbers of cancer cells, identifying molecular signatures that may be represent new druggable targets
National awards recognize early-career faculty as among the next generation of leaders in translational oncology
Early-career faculty in the Division of Oncology continue to earn national recognition and substantial grant support for their translational cancer research programs. Lionel Chow, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Oncology and a member of the Brain Tumors Program, received a prestigious Sontag Foundation Distinguished Scientist Award. The award, given to just five researchers nationally each year, provides $600,000 to support Dr. Chow’s work on molecular targeting in high-grade astrocytoma. The Chow lab works to develop novel animal models of high-grade brain tumors and to identify and develop new targeted therapies, focusing on the PI3-Kinase/AKT/MTOR pathway.
Christine Phillips, MD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and a member of the Leukemia/Lymphoma Program, has received an AACR-FNAB Career Development Award for Translational Cancer Research to support her work to elucidate a genetic model of cytarabine sensitivity in children with acute myeloid leukemia.
Neuro-Oncology Program Launches International Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma Registry
Professor of Pediatrics and Medical Director of Neuro-Oncology Maryam Fouladi, MD, MSc, is the principal investigator of the newly launched International Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) Registry, a cooperative project to build a comprehensive registry of demographic, clinical, radiographic, and pathology data for DIPG, a rare pediatric brain tumor with a very poor prognosis. The registry is linked to a bioinformatics repository of molecular data generated from analysis of tumor samples. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center is the coordinating center for the North American operations of the registry. The registry has embarked on two initial research projects: a study of long-term survivors of DIPG to attempt to correlate key clinical, radiographic, pathologic, and biological characteristics with outcome, and the first-ever epidemiological study to determine incidence patterns of DIPG in North America for 2000 – 2010. Collaborating investigators in Europe, Australia, and Asia expect to launch the registry in these regions in the upcoming year.