The Chow Laboratory is focused on the study of high-grade gliomas which are aggressive brain tumors in adults and children. Despite improvements in neurosurgical techniques and in the delivery of radiation therapy as well as many trials of chemotherapeutic regimens, the last three decades have witnessed little improvement in patient outcome. Pediatric patients in particular have extremely limited treatment options. With this in mind, the overall goals of the laboratory are to better understand the biology of high-grade gliomas and to apply these findings toward the development of improved treatments for this devastating disease.
We employ both genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) and the study of human tumor material in our studies. Our GEMMs are novel and robust laboratory models that combine both a strong histological resemblance as well as distinct molecular similarities to human high-grade gliomas. This makes them ideal for studying disease relevant mechanisms and for testing novel therapeutic agents. Importantly, we collect and study pediatric high-grade glioma samples both at our own institution and as members of the international study cooperative Children’s Oncology Group (COG). Together, the study of both GEMMs and clinical samples are complementary and will ensure that our focus remains clinically relevant.
The laboratory employs a wide-range of analytical techniques and experimental paradigms. We utilize various “omics” platforms to interrogate global changes in tumors at the DNA, gene expression and micro-RNA expression levels. This is coupled with immunohistochemical, molecular and biochemical studies as well as cellular studies. Our pre-clinical studies centers on the in vivo treatment of GEMMs with small molecules alone and in combinations followed by tumor analysis as well as survival analysis. We are also developing mouse xenograft models established from freshly isolated pediatric brain tumor samples to complement the genetic models.
The long term goals of the laboratory are to translate our findings into early phase clinical trials that can be carried out in our institution or as part of cooperative group trials with the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium (PBTC) or COG.